ABOUT 10,000 children eligible for free school meals will receive supermarket food vouchers over the Easter holidays.
Rotherham Council’s cabinet approved the spend, using money provided by the Government after its U-turn last October.
Deputy leader Cllr Gordon Watson, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Inspired by Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end food poverty in this country, the council stepped in last October to provide food vouchers to local children during the school holidays when the Government announced that it wasn’t continuing with the support it had previously provided.
“Although the Government has now U-turned on its original position and is providing funding for food for children during school holidays, we need to keep the pressure on to ensure these are permanent arrangements and the council recently adopted a motion which calls for the right to food to be incorporated into the national food strategy, enshrining in law that nobody in this country should go hungry.”
The vouchers — to the value of £30 per child — were approved by cabinet members on Monday.
Rotherham has 10,000 youngsters eligible for free school meals. Some 9,000 families have been given financial support towards school uniforms.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “That’s an awful lot of families facing particularly acute financial need in a really difficult time.
“I’m pleased that we are able to make some provision for those people at the sharp end of the current difficulties that we are in.”
He added: “There was an outcry about the Government’s failure to step up and provide lunchtime support. We were able to step in last October and meet that need.
“We have subsequently done so, in part because we’ve been given some additional financial support from the Government after they were shamed into it, to provide vouchers through Christmas and at the February half-term.”
An online activities programme is also being provided by the council from Saturday, accessed daily via the Rotherham Early Help North, Rotherham Early Help Central and Rotherham Early Help South pages on Facebook.