Highland Council will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020.
This innovative and easy-to-use service will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed. For the majority of pupils, this will be delivered digitally through e-vouchers for food in local supermarkets.
Enabling choice will provide flexibility and also help to reduce waste, as food can be purchased according to need or preference in the household. Some restrictions do apply as the e-vouchers cannot be used to purchase age restricted products such as tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets and fuel.
The impact of Coronavirus has caused many vulnerable families additional hardship and this process will ensure that the most vulnerable children can get food.
Highland Council continues to investigate other ways of providing food across the Highlands for vulnerable groups within the rapidly changing environment. This includes working closely with High Life Highland, Eden Court and our many partners including the Third Sector. Further information will be provided in due course.
Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Education Committee, said: “The provision of school meals is a priority service that we are committed to delivering including during when schools are closed in the current times. I applaud the Highland Council staff who are working hard to implement this service as quickly as possible and for e-vouchers to be issued next week”.
A helpline number has been set up for anyone who is struggling and needing urgent help during this crisis. The single line number – 0300 303 1362 – will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. All calls are free.