Portland Town Council (PTC) has continued to express concern regarding food inequality amongst Portland’s children. 

In response, PTC has provided long-term, consistent support to Portland’s children in receipt of free school meals by paying for the equivalent of five days breakfast per child per week in the school holidays in the form of a £2.00 supermarket voucher.

When the scheme was formed during the latter part of 2020, Atlantic Academy responded positively to the Town Council’s initial consultation and the Council has worked successfully with them to provide meals for Portland children in receipt of free school meals.

A spokesperson for Atlantic Academy told the Dorset Eye:

Atlantic Academy has been very privileged to have worked successfully with, and received support from Portland Town Council over the last two years to help our families during the holiday periods.

This additional financial benefit has helped support our families most in need to purchase food and groceries when children are not in school.

We are delighted that Portland Town Council are now supporting other local schools as well at Atlantic Academy, and we look forward to continuing working with them in the future.

Due to rising concern brought about by continued food inequality and the cost-of-living crisis, PTC Full Council has agreed to the continuation and expansion of the school meals voucher scheme, and to increase the value of the voucher from £2.00 to £3.00.

Following a recent survey carried out by the Town Council to review the Free School meals Initiative, the scheme now extends to a further five schools in Weymouth and Portland that have Portland pupils in receipt of free school meals. 

Portland Town Councillor, Carralyn Parkes on behalf of the School Meals Working Group (whose members are Cllr C. Parkes and Cllr G. Lewis) said:

The Portland Community is at the heart of the services that we deliver and decisions that we make at the Town Council. Over the course of the scheme, we have helped to provide hundreds of school children with thousands of meals. The expansion of the scheme means that the Council is able to provide this valued support to a greater number of our children during these very difficult times, helping to do our part in addressing food inequality on the Island”.

John Cornish, Principal of All Saints CE Academy said “I would like to thank the members of Portland Town Council who have demonstrated leadership at this time by supporting Portland pupils with additional funding for meals during school holiday time. 

The links between free school meal eligibility and low educational achievement are well established and I am very pleased that Portland children will benefit from this. 

All Saints is privileged to work with many Portland pupils and families and hope that this scheme brings some welcome news this Christmas”