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Monday, August 29, 2022

Universal free school meals rollout update

Preparations are well under way for reception pupils in Denbighshire schools to start receiving universal free school meals from September.

Following receipt of £859,000 from Welsh Government to support the roll out of Universal Primary free school meals across Denbighshire, works have begun to increase the capacity of the Authority’s Primary school kitchens. Work commenced before the start of the Summer holidays, and will continue until the end of August 2022 at 13 sites across the County.

In December 2021 Welsh Government (WG) announced plans to offer free meals to all Primary school pupils. WG later announced a phased delivery approach to be implemented from 1st September 2022 to September 2024.

Delivering Universal Primary Free School Meals (UPFSM) will increase Denbighshire County Council’s (DCC) Catering service daily meals from 3500 to 7687. After an initial review it was established that a number of the current school kitchens were not fit for purpose to deliver the increase in meal numbers and a significant investment would be required in order to meet the roll out deadline.

Councillor Gill German, Lead member for Education Children and Families said, “Delivery of Universal Free School Meals to all Primary pupils is a top priority for the Authority. This project has been a significant challenge with tight timescales, and I am delighted to see that through excellent cross service working by DCC officers and outstanding support from local suppliers, contractors and WG we are on target to roll out the UPFSM offer to all Reception pupils attending Denbighshire schools from September 2022”.

The next phase of the works will focus on ensuring that all Primary schools are able to deliver to Years 1 and 2 by Easter 2023.

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