Hot dinners for longer 

School meals
Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Linda Thomas (centre), with Gilnow Primary pupils Asma Khan (9) (left) and Altaf Musaji (9).

A scheme which provided school meals for £1 to all primary school pupils in Bolton is being extended.

The promotion was due to finish this month but thousands of children can now continue to tuck into a hot dinner at the reduced price until the end of March 2011.

The council introduced the £1 offer in January to encourage more children to enjoy a healthy hot meal.

Cutting the price to £1, from £1.80 in 2009, has seen the take-up of dinners shoot up.

Around 70 per cent of pupils in 95 primary schools are taking meals compared with the national average of 47 per cent.

This means 2,735 more meals have been served per day, adding up to an extra 520,000 meals dished up over the year.

Leader of Bolton Council Councillor Cliff Morris said: “We’re pleased with the uptake of school meals since we began the £1 promotion. More children are benefiting from tucking into a hot, nutritious meal every day.

“Parents have told us it’s really made a difference to the choices their children make, both in and out of school.

“Continuing the promotion means we can also continue to help families through the economic downturn.”

The meal offer is helping to save families £152.00 over the year, per child. Vanessa Thomson’s daughter Hannah, aged ten-years-old goes to St Johns Primary School, in Kearsley.
She said: “The extra money is better in my pocket, as I do have afterschool club and music club to now pay for. I also like Hannah to have school meals as I know that she is having a warm and healthy balanced meal.”

“I know that she will try new foods at school and this is partly due to the dinner staff encouraging her and also if her friends try things she will too. Hannah has opted for a fresh fruit salad instead of a cookie at school so I now buy Hannah fruit snack packs for at home.”

A survey of parents of primary school children revealed that more than three-quarters think there is a link between food and children’s behaviour. And more than four fifths thought that school meals were healthy.

Children who are eligible for a free meal will still receive them as normal.

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Salma Nakhuda
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