When the Island’s schools closed to most pupils on 23 March the Isle of Man Government remained committed to provide free school meals to all eligible children.
Packed lunches have been distributed from the school hubs and all the children of key workers and vulnerable children attending school have been catered for.
Due to self-isolation and travel restrictions many families have been unable to collect their children’s meals and the Isle of Man Government has consulted with all head teachers to find a better temporary solution. Several options were looked at including frozen meals and food packages.
This week all eligible parents will be sent food vouchers of equivalent value of 10 free school meals. These will continue to be sent out every two weeks to all eligible families during the current health emergency. The value of the vouchers will be £23.00 for each primary school child and £29.00 for each secondary school child.
Each voucher can be exchanged, at any Shoprite store on the Isle of Man. They will not be valid for purchases from any of the in-store concessions. They may only be used for the purchase of groceries, excluding alcohol, lottery tickets, tobacco and non-food products. They may be exchanged for articles of a higher price than the face value on payment of the difference. No change will be given.
All vouchers are dated and sequentially numbered. The vouchers will expire at the end of each fortnightly period.
Dr Alex Allinson, Minister for the Department of Education, Sport and Culture said:
‘The vouchers will be produced on the Island by Shoprite for use in their stores. It was essential that the Government responded quickly to introduce the scheme and we are grateful to Shoprite for all their assistance. Shoprite is a local company with the island coverage that we needed.’
The scheme will means parents no longer need to travel to a hub school to collect the meals and can avoid unnecessary journeys. It will be reviewed on a regular basis and adapted where necessary.
Schools across the Island were closed last month to all pupils except the children of key workers such as doctors, nurses and delivery drivers, some vulnerable children and those with more serious special educational needs.