Richmond Council has confirmed it is providing additional funding to local schools, to support the expansion of free school meals to all primary aged children from September 2023.
The cost of the meals is being funded by the Mayor of London for one year and Council funding will ensure schools have the kitchen facilities and equipment needed to support the increased number of hot meals served.
Cllr Penny Frost, Chair of the Council's Education and Children's Service committee said:
"We have welcomed the expansion of the free school meals provision to all primary children for the next academic year, at a time when many families are feeling the impact of high food prices and the cost-of-living crisis. Good nutrition is essential for physical and mental wellbeing and development, and we know that children learn better when they are well fed.
"We anticipate that this offer will be popular and one that parents will hope to see extended beyond a year. Our schools have had to make a significant capital investment to deliver meals for this coming year so if the offer continues, which we hope it will, it will be critical that the Mayor and the Department for Education work to release funding for ongoing costs."
The offer is available from September for all primary aged children in state-funded schools. Eligibility is not means tested. To find out more, please speak to your child's school.
Richmond Council is also continuing to provide school meal vouchers for the borough's lowest-income families over the school summer holidays.
Each eligible child is receiving £120 for the six-week school holiday period, which is £30 more than was provided last year.
Eligible children and young people will also have free access to holiday clubs through the FUEL holiday activity and food programme. The purpose of the programme is to make free places available during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays for children and young people whose parents and carers receive benefits related free school meals (FSM). Children and young people will also get their lunch provided at the club.
Find out about the FUEL - Holiday Activities and Food Programme.