Council commits additional £100k to York’s free school meals pilots

An ambitious scheme to run pilots providing free school meals in primary schools in York has received a £100k boost, thanks to a commitment from City of York Council.

The authority agreed to allocate a further £100,000 towards the scheme in 2024/25, in addition to the £100,000 provided in 2023/24, at its recent budget meeting.

The first free school meals pilots launched at two York schools earlier this year: Westfield Community Primary School, where children in children in years 3-6 can receive a free school lunch*, and a second at Burton Green Primary School where pupils in all year groups can get a free breakfast.

The Westfield pilot is being funded via the council’s initial £100k investment, with the pilot at Burton Green made possible thanks to donations to York Hungry Minds appeal from the Persimmon Charitable Foundation and the Sylvia and Colin Shepherd Charitable Trust.
The ongoing council funding is part of the local authority’s commitment to work towards York becoming an anti-poverty city, as outlined in the The Council Plan, One City for all, 2023-2027. The plan sets out a vision for the council – over the next four years, establishing conditions that would make the city of York a healthier, fairer, more affordable, more sustainable and more accessible place, where everyone feels valued, creating more regional opportunities to help today’s residents and benefit future generations.

Cllr Bob Webb, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Tackling poverty and providing equal opportunities for all children in our city are key planks our Council Plan, One City for all. I’m pleased that, despite the authority’s challenging financial position, we’ve been able to allocate additional funding to continue our commitment to the free school meals pilots, supporting out aim towards York becoming an anti-poverty city.”

Although the free school meals pilots will pause over the Easter holidays, many children and young people across the city will be eligible to join York’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF).

Children and young people in receipt of benefit-related free school meals can attend free fun activities for keeping active, being creative, and trying something new, together with a healthy meal, over the Easter, summer, and winter school holidays.

The activities are funded by the Department for Education (DfE) as part of the government’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme.

For more information about HAF opportunities in York visit https://www.raiseyork.co.uk/directories/holiday-activities-food

York Hungry Minds steering group is keen to hear from businesses who would like to shape future developments. Email Celia McKeon at Cmckeon@tworidingscf.org.uk for further information.

To donate to York Hungry Minds visit https://www.tworidingscf.org.uk/appeal/york-hungry-minds/