Families in Richmond are being urged to check if they qualify for free school meals, after a government u-turn means that the scheme will now be funded over the summer holidays.
Last month, the Government announced that they would be funding the scheme that provides vulnerable and low-income families with vital vouchers for food over the traditional six-week summer break, having previously ruled it out.
With the Coronavirus pandemic having had a massive effect on employment, it is expected that more families will be eligible to claim for free school meals than before.
Families in receipt of the following support payments will be entitled your child will be entitled to receive free school meals:

  • Universal Credit – provided you have an annual net income of less than £7,400
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by HMRC, that does not exceed £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on

More information is available at www.richmond.gov.uk/free_school_meals

Since lockdown, there have been numerous warnings from the Government, the Police and leading charities about the online risks that children can face. In response to this, a new app, which offers vital safeguarding information and advice has been launched by Achieving for Children (AfC).
The Richmond Safer Schools App provides support on topics including online bullying, mental health, sexting, media literacy, gaming and sexual exploitation online. The app is being released to further help parents and carers educate, empower and protect their children in the online world. A version is also being made available for teachers, school staff and other safeguarding professionals to enhance their existing resources.
Schools will be providing information to families directly on how they can download the App. For more information – speak to your local school.

Independent Age, the national older people’s charity, has been amplifying the voices of people in later life during the COVID-19 outbreak with blogs on issues such as access to food, receiving social care, loneliness, bereavement and the importance of saying goodbye.
Contributions to Home Truths have looked at keeping fit in lockdown, staying in touch with family and the ways that communities are coming together to support each other.
A local resident has written two blogs for Independent Age. The first shared her experience of trying to access food at the time and the second highlighted the situation family carers are finding themselves in during the pandemic.
You can read the blog series here: www.independentage.org/hometruths-care-for-carers


Sarah Olney MP
email: office@saraholneymp.org.uk

Earlier updates can be accessed here.