Families in Orkney are being encouraged to apply for free school meals and clothing allowances before the end of term – which may open up other pandemic support grants available to them.
With the Council’s 2021/2022 applications for both allowances now open, Council Leader James Stockan said that the Local Authority is keen no families miss out on additional Covid-19 financial support to which they may be entitled.
Councillor Stockan said: “To qualify for these, families must apply and meet the criteria even if their child is in P1-P4. So, to ensure no-one who is entitled misses out, please ensure you fill out the forms.
“Thanks to earlier appeals – when we were pushing the winter and spring Covid-19 support grants and encouraging families to apply for free school meals – almost 30 families found out they were entitled.
“We are concerned there are still some families out there who are missing out on free school meals, and these additional payments, due to a misconception of there being a stigma attached. Please be reassured the system we have in place has already been commended by other parents and carers who have applied as being subtle and ensuring privacy.
“I would urge people to check to see if you qualify – people are entitled to this – and some may be surprised to find that they are eligible. So please, if you are unsure, just check it out.”
Both the free school meals and clothing allowances can be applied for online here: www.orkney.gov.uk/school-benefit
For anyone who is unable to access the online application form they can call 01856 873535 and a paper copy form will be posted to them.
You are eligible if you receive any of the following benefits or support:
- Income Support.
- Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance.
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
- Universal Credit where the monthly earned income does not exceed £625.
- Child Tax Credit only – income must be under £16,190.
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit – income must be under £7,500.
- Support under Part VI of Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
Children attending nursery for full days and children in P1-P3 are automatically entitled to receive free school meals – a further 230 or so P4 pupils will now also be entitled to have free school meals from August 2021.
P5 pupils (a further 210 or so in Orkney) will also be entitled to free school meals from January 2022 and there has been a Scottish Government commitment to roll out universal free school meals to all primary pupils, including P6 and P7 by August 2022.
Council Leader Councillor James Stockan said: “Free school meals are a vital support to hundreds of children and young people across the county – ensuring that children have access to a free, healthy and nutritious meal every day they are in school and are ready to engage in learning.
“Similarly, to the winter pandemic support payments, there will be a summer pandemic support payment – as well as additional payments during all school holidays for 2021/22. To qualify for these, families must apply and meet the criteria even if their child is in P1-P4. So, to ensure no-one who is entitled misses out, please ensure you fill out the forms.”
Find out more on our School Meals and Clothing Allowances page.