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5,000 successfully apply for free school meal switch

More than 5,000 parents and carers whose children are eligible for free school meals have successfully applied online to receive direct payments to their bank accounts to provide lunches themselves.

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Swansea Council is offering those who qualify the choice of continuing to receive weekly food bags, having direct payments or opting out of the scheme entirely should they wish.

Those who have chosen direct payments will have the cash equivalent of £39 paid into their accounts next week to cover the next fortnight.

Families who have decided to continue with the weekly food parcels instead will receive them on Tuesday, rather than Monday, for next week only as it is a bank holiday.

Anyone who has not as yet registered, or been unable to successfully register this week, or is newly eligible, can register by Wednesday May 27 for a fortnightly payment covering the week commencing June 1 or they can continue with a food parcel each week.

Those who have successfully registered this week and receive their first payment next week do not need to do anything further as they will receive their next payment on the week commencing June 8.

Where there have been issues in relation to the registration process it has generally been as a result of the e-mail address available being inaccurate or out of date, where a parent/carer has sought to register with a different e-mail address from that provided by the school, or simply due to the fact that the individual has not been eligible for free school meals. 

Swansea Council will continue to work with households and schools to address any such issues for future payment runs.

Councillor Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills said: "The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is hitting many families in Swansea hard, with people losing jobs or experiencing reduced income due to furlough.

"I would urge those who think they may qualify for free school meals to check to see if they qualify and if they do they will then be able to choose whether they would like direct payments or food parcels."

Those not receiving free school meals can check if they are eligible at:

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