The Department of Education has axed the holiday food grant ahead of next week’s Easter school holidays.

Since July 2020, families of 96,000 children eligible for free school meals have received £27 per child each fortnight during school holidays.

The school holiday food grant was to help low-income families with the cost of feeding children.

Due to funding cuts the department have made the decision to end the scheme.

It means that families will not receive the payments for the Easter school holidays, which are due to begin on Monday in many schools across Northern Ireland.

The department has also revealed that it can no longer fund a mental health and counselling programme for children in Primary Schools called Happy Healthy Minds.

In a statement by the Department of Education, a spokesperson said: “Since July 2020 additional ringfenced funding has been provided to enable the Department of Education to pay School Holiday Food Grants (SHFG) on behalf of the Executive. From April 2023 this additional ringfenced funding has ended and therefore school holiday food grants can no longer be made.

“The Department recognises the important support the SHFG scheme has provided for low income families who are struggling financially, particularly with recent cost of living rises and realises the huge disappointment this will be for parents. It is with great reluctance that the Department is confirming that SHFG will be discontinued from 31 March 2023.

“While funding allocations have not yet been confirmed by the Secretary of State, the Department of Education is facing an extremely challenging budget.

“We will continue to work with other government departments and agencies in efforts to tackle holiday hunger in the future.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *