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Families struggling to get free school meals for their children during lockdown are having to resort to meals provided by the community.

Nationally, some families have been missing out on the lunches their children are entitled to when they attend school despite promises they would continue.

With schools either issuing vouchers for supermarkets or ready-made packed lunches to be picked up daily from schools, some took a longer time to get the system sorted and in place.

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However, as the lockdown has continued and as the country heads into week 9, some family situations have changed, meaning their children are now entitled to free school meals – but their applications are not proceeding.

On the Island, in one ward, a charity has stepped up to provide meals for more than 15 pupils as their applications have stalled.

Isle of Wight Cllr Geoff Brodie, who represents Newport East, the area on the Island with the highest level of child poverty, expressed concerns residents had told him about not receiving the meals. He said:

“I consider it very disappointing that the council will not consider support for families who are suddenly out of work because of the lockdown and are having trouble getting free school meals entitlements for their children.

“If a little community charity like Pan Together can help these families in my area whilst this is happening, surely the council can help across the Island? Particularly with the millions of pound of crisis support they have had from central government.

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“Surely, children should be the priority of any caring Council.”

According to the Department for Education (DfE), schools and local authorities should continue to accept free school meal applications.

When asked how the council was supporting the free school meal applications and how the system was working, it said it has urged school leaders to follow the guidance around the entitlement to free school meals.

As well as providing the guidelines, an Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said:

“Schools are autonomous institutions and have to ensure free school meals are provided in line with the guidance.

“Several schools have continued to provide meals through their catering contract and this appears to have worked well.

“Those schools that switched to the national voucher scheme expressed huge concerns initially that the system wasn’t functioning correctly.

“The Isle of Wight Council made regular representations to the DfE about the national voucher scheme in common with many other local authorities and schools.

“The latest reports we are receiving from schools is that the initial problems appear to be being ironed out and it is functioning much better.”

Guidance says it is up to individual schools to decide whether they provide a voucher system or a daily packed lunch.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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That is what tax credits, family allowance, subsidised rent and council tax, and other state aid is for.

It is not to buy dope, dress yourself in designer clothes, glue on a few eyelashes, get more tattoo’s and roar around in a second hand Beemer.

The get other to pay for your drugged or drunken ‘mistakes’

Betty S

Well said!

Rin Tin Tin Tin

Completely agree yet in my case, these benfits aren’t enough and the school voucher system is a godsend. I know exactly the kind of people you are talking about and my opinion of them is probably similar to yours. Just know that not all on benefits are irresponisble or simply taking handouts so they can stay home and spend it on booze etc.


What terrible stereotypical views. Not all families are as you describe.


your kids – you pay for them – we didn’t decide to have your kids, so why the hell should we, as taxpayers shell out extra in our taxes to pay for food for your brats.


Everytime you have a delivery, go to a shop, need the emergency services, NHS or almost every aspect of modern society you are using the education of somebody else’s child.
It’s called ‘society’ and of course we should support those genuinely struggling.


no – you pay for other peoples kids out of your pocket – mariner – this isn’t a socialist do gooding country – you have the kid – you pay for it


yes and I bet all the mums have smart phones, sky tv, internet and enough booze n fags to keep them going for years. Then they think about food.

Roger Eaton

Trust me that it’s for the good of society, as a whole. Income redistribution decreases crime and inequality, amongst others. If there wasn’t such a thing, that 5% of the tax you don’t want contribute may cost your life. Look crime rate in a country such as the states for instance. Extreme but I’m just trying to make a point


Problem is Labour looks at society, sees MOST of the well to do’s children not being troublesome and so ‘thinks’ that ‘lack of money’ must be ‘the’ problem. So they pay more cash to the poor, in the vain hope that such will make them ‘better people’. Instead it has just turned them from being a little embarrassed, a little shamed, a little more thoughtful in having a state charity kept child (usually now several) that they cannot ‘afford’ to bring up, into thinking that by being as well off, and often better off than people who work FULL TIME,… Read more »

Rin Tin Tin Tin

Have to be honest, you scare me. I have worked for 30 years and earned enough to allow me to confidently say that I have probably paid more in tax some years than the average person takes home. So times changed for me, I needed state aid, I took it. Am I a scrounger? Am I taking money out of your pocket? Or have I paid my dues in tax over the years? Think carefully about this one because I have shelled out hundreds of thousands in tax in my time.


this isn’t about you tin tin. This is about someone expecting others to pay higher taxes to pay for their kids food – do not be so naive to think that there isn’t still a large number of ” let the effing state pay for it” and have loads of kids, deadbeats around.

I work to make money for me, not to give it to others for their kids lunch. I am not a charity, nor will I ever be.

if they want more money for food for their kids- then get an effing job.


Or keep them closed until free contraception for the poor is taken. If you cant afford a condom, you can’t afford a child.


They are not asking you to pay higher tax’s. It’s simply a post about how people’s situations have changed throughout this pandemic and how they are struggling to get the support they need from school. I personally, like many others who now receive benefits have worked to support myself and my family since I was of working age. However, following an unbearable situation I am now a single Mum on benefits. Yes there are many out there that take things for granted and abuse the system but there are a select few that have no choice until they find themselves… Read more »

not disclosed.

the point is survivor, that the support you want from school costs money, which ultimately will end up coming from taxpayers. In other words, I am going out to work, only to see more of my money taken from me against my will, just to hand over to someone else. I despise the idea of having to support someone else against my will. I work for my money and I expect to keep all of it, so that I can build enough to get through any unforeseen shortfall. Having more taxes imposed means it is harder to build that cash… Read more »

Cyndy Morgan

Whilst I understand the views expressed regarding paying for other people’s children, I am sad at the lack of compassion for anyone genuinely struggling at this time. Everyone is living with new problems at the moment and kindness is a free resource. There will always be some that abuse the system but many are genuine and I’m not comfortable with children going hungry for whatever reason, they are not to blame.
Please try to be kind, it will make you feel better.


then you pay for the food of others children then cyndy – because it is not my job, nor is it my responsibility to pay for some others kids lunch- I am working for me, to enrich myself – not pay out for others in the form of higher taxes.

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