Over 900 more Stockport school children eat for free thanks to Stockport Council School Meal Support Scheme

This academic year, over 900 children and young people in Stockport will be able to access a paid-for lunchtime meal during term time.

Over 900 more Stockport school children eat for free thanks to Stockport Council School Meal Support Scheme

It’s thanks to the roll out of the Stockport Council School Meal Support Scheme, which allows some families who are not eligible for the nationally funded universal and free school meals to claim a paid-for meal for their children.

Support is available to children aged between 7 and 18 years old living in the borough and attending an education setting during the 2023/24 academic year whose parents/carers are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support and/or Housing Benefit. This includes children who live in the borough but attend a school or college outside of Stockport.

A total of 945 children are currently being supported by the scheme for the academic year 2023/24, with the council working in partnership with 150 school and college settings, including 46 schools and colleges outside of the borough. These children will receive a paid-for meal each day of term over the academic year when attending their school or college.

In addition, the council has processed over 2000 applications for its School Uniform Grant Scheme, with over 1500 children awarded £45 each towards the cost of their secondary school uniform. Combined, the two schemes are designed to support families with children returning to school this academic year. When helping residents with applications, the cost-of-living team were also able to signpost to support including second-hand uniform shops, support funds and food vouchers for those in crisis.

Councillor Jilly Julian, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources at Stockport Council, commented: “The council’s School Meal Support Scheme has been designed with our residents in mind, and means that hundreds more families are able to access paid-for meals during term time. We know that back to school time puts an additional strain on families already struggling financially, so I hope that the School Meal Support Scheme will help to make a difference to many of our residents. It’s just one of the ways that the council is looking to support the people of Stockport during this difficult economic time.”

Councillor Wendy Meikle, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, added: “Thank you to all colleagues who have been instrumental in delivering these two schemes for families in Stockport. At the council, we are committed to offering the very best support for families who might be experiencing financial hardship, which is why these two schemes are vitally important to our cost-of-living support offer. If you are struggling to make ends meet, help is available from Stockport Council.”

Anyone struggling with the cost-of-living can visit the council’s cost-of-living hub, which rounds up all of the support available, including help in a crisis. The helpline is also open from 9.30am – 4pm Monday – Friday, and will put you directly in touch with the Resident Advice and Support team who can support with a wide range of issues. The line can be reached on 0161 474 2140.