CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council are changing the way they will provide free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak to make it easier for families to access.

The council said:

“From the week beginning Monday, May 4, the majority of eligible families will receive direct payments into their bank / building society accounts.

“As well as making it easier for families, this also follows Government guidance regarding essential travel.

“The payments will be made every fortnight so that parents / guardians can continue to provide breakfast and lunch, five days a week for their child / children.

“In some cases, we will be arranging a weekly delivery of food packs instead. Those families will be contacted directly to make the necessary arrangements.

“In order to set up a direct payment, we will need to verify a few details from families, and they will also need to provide us with their bank details by completing an online form on our website newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/coronavirus.

“Please note the council will never phone you and ask for your bank details.

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“Children registered for free school meals will also continue to receive a monthly food parcel containing dry, tinned and other long-life food supplies to feed the whole family.”

Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “We have been reviewing how we have been providing free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak, and due to Government guidance in relation to essential travel, we have decided to make direct payments to families to allow them to buy the food they need for their children for both breakfast and lunch, five days a week.

“This also means we can make sure we are reaching all free school meals families instead of relying on them to collect food packs from us. It is vital that we continue to provide free school meals during this extremely difficult time.

“No child who would ordinarily receive a free school meal should go without while their school is closed or while they are having to self-isolate at home.”

Families should submit only one form for all children that are eligible for free school meals as soon as possible to avoid a delay in the first payment. We will be processing applications as quickly as possible and you will be notified when you are to receive your first payment. If it is after May 4, it will be backdated.

Please do not complete the form if you are not registered for free school meals. If circumstances have changed and you are now in receipt of certain benefits you could be eligible for free school meals, full details on eligibility and how to apply is on our website.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria to receive free school meals but still need support, please call our helpline on 01267 234567 between 8.30am and 6pm seven days a week or e-mail direct@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.”

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