Providing Food and Support to Pupils During Covid-19 Outbreak

Daily confirmed cases of coronavirus are continuing to rise again resulting in extra restrictions in many areas of the UK. When lockdown ended, we were relieved to see the reopening of our schools and a return to normality. Unfortunately, our post-coronavirus lives were short lived as the government started to introduce more rules a couple of weeks ago.   

Did any of us ever imagine that a pandemic would hit us this hard?

Covid-19 continues to affect our daily lives as the NHS take necessary steps to reduce the transmission. Regardless of their age, it is a very difficult time for our young people and children. During this time, it is very important that we support and take care of children and their health. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on household food security. A poll carried out by the Food Foundation found that 200,000 children were missing meals over summer. Their latest survey revealed that 14% of UK families with children have experienced food insecurity in the past 6 months. 

There are many ways we can support our children through these unknown times. Additional support is available through many organisations and services.

Supporting pupils who have to stay at home 

A small number of pupils are unable to attend school if they are required to self-isolate. The Department for Education has outlined that schools should be working with catering suppliers to prepare food parcels for pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals. This applies to those who are self-isolating, had symptoms, been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or not attending as a result of local lockdown. 

Schools must provide meal options for pupils in schools and free school meals are available to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria. 

If you would like to check if your child can get free school meals in England you can find out how to apply on your local authority’s website here

Food Banks 

To get help from a local food bank, you’ll need to be referred by someone e.g. a charity, GP, or social worker. You can gain a referral by contacting your nearest Citizens Advice and they can make you an appointment to discuss your situation. 

The Trussell Trust Organisation understand it’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment and Coronavirus may have had caused a financial impact on your household. If you are in a financial crisis and live in England or Wales, you can call their free helpline on 0808 208 2138.  You can find your local food bank using the locator map.  There are a number of food banks in Kent and Medway including Strood, Chatham, Sittingbourne, Gillingham, and Rochester. Click here to get full details on locations of food banks. 

Food Vouchers 

Healthy Start vouchers help families to buy some basic foods. This scheme provides vouchers to spend with local shops. Pregnant women and children over 1 and under 4 can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under 1 can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week. These vouchers can be spent on cows milk, fruit, vegetables, tinned pulses, and infant formula milk. Check to see if you qualify for these vouchers online. You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you do not get any benefits. If you are on income-related benefits, or under 18, you can also get free vitamins while you're pregnant. Call 0345 607 6823 to request an application form from Healthy Start

It is crucial that we keep our children healthy especially in times where they are most vulnerable. With children  feeling overwhelmed and worried now might be a good time to teach them First Aid using our blog 'Simple First Aid Tips to Teach Your Child At Home'. 

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