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LACA
Thousands of children to benefit from free school meals
10/05/2011 - 23:00

Thousands of kids are to benefit from free school meals for another year following a bid of extra funding.

Wolverhampton City Primary Care Trust has agreed to fund the council-run scheme for a third year and this will ensure around 4,000 more pupils will be able to enjoy nutritious free meals until July 2012.

In total, around 12,000 children and young people are currently enjoying free school meals, with many also entitled to additional benefits including free milk and free accommodation on residential trips.

The city is currently taking part in a two-year pilot extended eligibility scheme that means parents who receive Working Tax Credit can claim free meals.

This pilot was due to end in July this year and it was thought that, because of budget cuts by the Government in 2010, the additional free school meals would end.

Families could now save up to £400 a year, and will enable the city's schools to continue to provide the extra free school meals for a third academic year.

Councillor Phil Page, Wolverhampton City Council cabinet member for schools, said: "We are delighted to announce that we have secured the funding to provide free school meals for a further academic year.

"This wonderful news means that thousands of children will benefit from free healthy meals while parents will make welcome savings in the current tough economic climate.

"I would like to thank schools for their hard work and ongoing support of this unique and valuable project and look forward to continuing to work together with them for the benefit of our City's children and young people."

Linda Smith, director of delivery from the School Food Trust, added: "When children eat better, they do better. A good lunch improves their concentration in class, their health and their learning about making good food choices – ultimately, it's about helping them to reach their full potential."