Scottish Borders Council is encouraging eligible families to make sure they are receiving the free school meals, footwear and clothing grants they may be entitled to. Support is also available to young people aged 16 to 19 from low income households through the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) programme to help them to continue to learn.

Free school meals are available to all Primary 1-3 pupils and older children if their parent or carer is in receipt of certain benefits. As a result of new legislation that came into force last year, children are also eligible if they receive funded early learning and childcare over lunchtime and their parent or carer receives a qualifying benefit.

Clothing and footwear grants of up to £100 per child per school year are also available to parents or carers in receipt of certain benefits.

EMA of £30 a week is available to eligible young people who are attending non-advanced education in school, college or a community or voluntary provision. Young people who engage in an Activity Agreement for more than nine hours a week and home schooled pupils can also apply. Payments are dependent on attendance at school or college and are not paid during school holidays or when attendance is below 100 percent.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People, said: “It is vital that eligible parents make sure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to by way of free school meals and clothing grants. For families on low incomes, these additional savings can be of tremendous support to help balance their weekly budgets, but also in making sure that children are receiving a nutritious meal at lunchtime with all the learning benefits that this can bring. There are a number of advantages to wearing a school uniform including giving pupils a sense of pride and belonging in their school but also in terms of preventing competition between them, which can be especially helpful for parents and carers who are doing their best to manage on a low income. For young people, EMA is not only an incentive to attend school on a regular basis but it can also be used to learn the budgeting and money management skills which are so important in later life.”

For more information on school meals and clothing grants, visit: www.scotborders.gov.uk/schoolgrants Applications for the 2019/2020 session are open from Monday 10 June.

To find out more about EMA, visit: www.scotborders.gov.uk/ema Applications for the 2019/2020 session are open from Monday 17 June.

Parents can also speak to Customer Services by phoning 0300 100 1800 or visiting a Council contact centre: www.scotborders.gov.uk/contactcentres

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