Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham, said: “Newham Council is committed to Eat For Free, which saves the average family £500 per child while providing up to 14,000 children a healthy and nutritious meal every school day.
“We want every child to have the best possible start to life, and Eat for Free makes a positive difference in learning and development of children and young people.
“We have listened to local families and know how important Eat for Free is. Despite the central government cuts and the economic costs of Covid-19, I am delighted to confirm that Eat for Free will remain and Newham Council will continue to put people at the heart of everything we do as celebrate the first ever Newham Year of Young People.”
The pioneering Eat for Free programme extends free school meals entitlement from only those in infant years and on certain benefits to all primary aged pupils, regardless of their family income.
It guarantees that all children in the borough have access to a healthy daily meal, as well as saving Newham families around £500 per child in annual food costs.
There are 14,000 pupils in years 3-6 eligible to take up the offer, which also boosts the local economy by creating additional catering jobs.
Since 2018, Newham Council has invested £33 million in children and youth services, and has continued to support young people through the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, we have designated 2021 Newham’s first ever ‘Year of Young People’ – a 12-month celebration of the contribution that children and young people make to our borough, and the value we place in them.