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Highland Council provides one-off payment for meals throughout festive break to Caithness children from P1 to S6 who are receipt of free school meals based on low income

By Ian Duncan

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Councillor John Finlayson.
Councillor John Finlayson.

Pupils from P1 to S6 who receive free school meals based on low income have received a one-off wellbeing payment of £25, per child or young person, to ensure that this provision can continue during the festive break from school.

This wellbeing payment has been agreed in order to help Highland parents and carers to provide nutritious hot meals for their children during what is a very expensive and often challenging time of year.

A nutritionally balanced diet is shown to support good memory and cognitive abilities among children and young people and therefore improves learning and educational attainment.

In addition, energy levels are increased enabling children and young people to keep active during the winter school holiday period.

Cllr John Finlayson, the chairman of Highland Council’s Education Committee, said: “I am delighted that our free school meal payments for the festive period has been paid automatically to our families based on existing entitlement, without the need for them to complete application forms.

"Council members recognise the mounting pressures that are facing low income families, including removal of the £20 top-up payment from Universal Credit, withdrawal of the furlough scheme and exorbitant and crippling energy price increases.

“I hope that these wellbeing payments go some way to supporting the health of our children and young people while also providing financial breathing space to Highland families during this expensive and challenging time of year.”

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