UNISON calls for universal free school meals for all

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by UNISON calling for the delivery of free school meals.

UNISON, the largest public service union in Northern Ireland, is campaigning for universal, free, nutritious school meals to be provided for all children and young people across Northern Ireland.

Local members of the union helped launch the campaign in Strabane last Thursday were a large billboard has been erected at Bridge Street.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, UNISON area organiser Noreen Robinson explained: ‘‘Our goal is that every child and young person in education gets a free, nutritious meal.

"We have seen recent developments in Scotland where a commitment has been made to extend the provision of free school meals to many more children and Northern Ireland must move to catch up.

"UNISON members working in our schools know the positive impact that free school meals can have on a child and that is why this campaign is so important to them.

"They know how much families can struggle to make ends meet. Many children living in poverty do not receive free school meals under the current system and that must change."

Noreen continued: "At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on family incomes, extending the provision of free school meals would act as a measure to promote public health, to reduce poverty and to improve learning outcomes for all children and young people.

"It would remove the stigma that children and their families experience when having to seek free school meals.

"Our members are writing to MLAs from all political parties calling on them to back this campaign and we would ask the public to do the same through the UNISON website.”

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