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Highland Council makes 4,500 payments to benefit children over the festive school break

By Louise Glen

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Cllr Margaret Davidson
Cllr Margaret Davidson

Highland Council has issued several thousand vouchers and payments to parents and carers for free school meals provision and Covid Winter Hardship Payments in advance of the Christmas break.

As part of a commitment which was announced earlier this year, Highland children who receive free school meals will continue to benefit from this provision over the upcoming festive break.

To help with food support over this period and enable local children to continue to benefit from a nutritious and well-balanced diet, free school meal vouchers of £30 per pupil have been issued to 4,570 parents and carers within Highland, totalling £137,100.

In addition, households in receipt of free school meals due to reasons of low income have received a Covid Winter Hardship Payment, which is an award of £100 per child.

While there are no restrictions on how families choose to spend this additional payment, spending choices may include festive presents, food, home heating and other essentials required over the winter months.

Leader of the council, Cllr Margaret Davidson, said: “I am delighted that vulnerable families within the Highlands have received these payments in advance of the festive break and I am quite sure that this additional support for the winter months will be a welcome relief for them after such a challenging year.

"An additional amount of almost £600,000 going into our local economies will also be a real boost for businesses.”

She continued: “I would like to sincerely thank the Council officers involved in co-ordinating this package of work and successfully delivering this in good time prior to the Christmas break, despite the very challenging deadline set by Scottish Government.”

Households in receipt of Free School Meals prior to November 30 who may be eligible for the Covid Winter Hardship Payment and have not received their payment by Monday December 21 2020 should contact the Council’s welfare support team on freephone: 0800 090 1004 or email: welfare.support@highland.gov.uk

Eligible households who applied for free school meals between 1 and December 22 2020 will receive their payments by January 15 2021.

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