MP highlights 15,000 free school meals during school meals week
South Lakes MP Tim Farron is celebrating the start of National School meals week by highlighting that 15,078 infant school children across Cumbria are now getting a hot and nutritious free school meal at lunch time.
From the start of the September term, all infant 5-7 year old children in school received a free hot and heathy meal at lunch time. That equates to 23,000 free school meals every day saving parents on average £400 per child per year.
In results from the Government's pilot areas, they saw a 23% increase in the number of children eating vegetables at lunchtime and a reduction of 18% in eating crisps and soft drinks. As of September 2014, over 98% of schools were delivering a hot meal every day to all children aged 5-7.
The free school meals programme is a £1.2billion programme introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government. £150 million of capital funding was also made available to support local authorities in improving kitchen and dining facilities in order to provide free school meals. There is also an additional £22.5m specifically to help smaller schools.
Commenting Tim said: "Eating a healthy and nutritious meal at school has been proven to help children do better academically and we have made great progress in ensuring more and more pupils all over the country can enjoy these benefits.
"With the help of hard working teachers and staff, 15,078 infant children in Cumbria are now getting a free healthy meal at lunch time - saving parents up to £400 a year.
"This week celebrates that progress and provides a chance to show off the creativity and talent of our hard working school cooks and catering staff to the wider community."