Public meeting over school meal concerns in Weymouth/Portland

Public meeting over school meal concerns in Weymouth/Portland

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 8:06am 28th April 2018. (Updated at 8:07am 28th April 2018)

Thousands of parents struggle to get by on the lowest average wages in the UK - now they face the prospect of losing Free School Meals.

A public meeting is being held in Weymouth later amid fears hundreds of children in the town and Portland face not getting the nutrition they need.

Thousands of parents struggle to get by on the lowest average wages in the UK -  now they face the prospect of losing Free School Meals, currently provided to children most in need.
 
The government says that, under new regulations, more children will receive free meals. Leading charities disagree: the Children's Society and the Child Poverty Action Group warn that up to a million children in England living below the poverty line will miss out on Free School Meals.
 
Some 13,000 children in Dorset will be affected, especially in Weymouth and Portland, where - according to Public Health England - over a fifth of children live in low-income families.
 
A meeting has been called for 2pm at Old Town Hall, High West Street, Weymouth (Boot Hill)  to address these issues.

Speakers include Lynne Hubbard, a dietitian with special knowledge of children's nutritional needs, and Alison Chown, a teacher and expert in children's wellbeing.
 
Parents and carers, teachers and school workers are especially welcome to attend.
 
Under new regulations, all children from Year 3 and up (age 7/8) will lose Free School Meals if their family receives state benefits and has an income over £7,400.
 
The Children's Society says: "Bringing up children on a low income is a fine balancing act each and every day. Having a guaranteed, healthy lunch at school is nothing short of a lifeline.
 
Many parents and carers rely on Free School Meals for their children's daily needs. NEU, the teachers' union, says that hunger can seriously affect children's education. The union says: "no child should go through the whole day without a proper meal."
 
Weymouth and Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW) believes that our local authorities should provide a free, nutritious meal at school for all children.