Funding awarded to support universal free school meals rollout

Bridgend County Borough Council has been awarded funding to support the rollout of universal primary free school meals.

Over £1.1m has been awarded to the local authority which will be used for purchasing new equipment, upgrading existing equipment, upgrading existing kitchen/dining facilities, and works to increase the capacity of school meal infrastructure.

Welsh Government has committed £25m of investment to schools across the country as part of plans to roll out free school meals to all primary school children.

The policy will see free school meals extended to all primary school pupils over the next three years.

From September, some of the youngest children in primary schools will begin receiving free school meals as the policy is introduced in a phased way.

Working with school and local authorities, the Welsh Government will plan and prepare the infrastructure needed for all primary-aged pupils to received free school meals by September 2024.

Announcing the plans, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Together we have made a joint commitment that no child in Wales should go hungry and that every child in our primary schools will be able to have a free school meal.

“We are facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. We know younger children are more likely to be living in relative income poverty, which is why the youngest of our learners will be the first to benefit.

“This cost-of-living crisis is being felt by families all over Wales, extending free school meals is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time.”