Free School Meals campaign shortlisted for Charity Award

2 mins read

Friday 17 May 2024

Tags: free school meals, disabled children, reasonable adjustments, charity awards

Contact is delighted that the free school meals campaign led by parent campaigner Natalie Hay, has been shortlisted for a Charity Award in the disability category.

Our research found 164,000 eligible disabled children could be missing out on a free school meal due to their disability or sensory needs.

Following a hard-fought campaign by Natalie Hay, supported in the last year by Contact and lawyers at Rook, Irwin, Sweeney, the government has updated its free school meals guidance to help those children access their lunch entitlement.

In March the updated guidance for England was published and included new sections on reasonable adjustments and children with a package of support called Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS). It says that an alternative should be offered, such as a food voucher, where a child can’t eat their free school meal in the regular way. This means that 164,000 eligible disabled children should now be able to access their free school meal more easily.

Parent-led campaign

Anna Bird, Chief Executive at Contact, said: “We were so proud to support such a brilliant parent-led campaign alongside Natalie. She recognised the injustice and worked tirelessly to get equality for disabled children up and down the country.

“It is fantastic to get recognition for the campaign through this Charity Awards shortlist, showing the power of charities and lawyers working alongside parent campaigners on issues that matter most to them.”

The Charity Awards, which announces its shortlist today (17 May), is the sector’s most highly-regarded excellence recognition scheme.

Awards ceremony

The 10 category winners, plus the recipients of the Overall Award for Excellence and the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, will be announced at a black-tie dinner in July held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

The evening will be hosted by broadcaster and commentator Baroness Ayesha Hazarika, who will be joined on the night by a host of celebrities, representatives of the shortlisted charities, as well as leaders from Britain’s best known and best loved charities.

Do you need help to access your child’s free school meal?

Find out more about the campaign.

Is your child eligible for a free school meal but can’t get it due to their disability? We have resources to help you claim an alternative to the free school meal.