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Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I am fully aware of the concerns that some children will go hungry over the summer period, especially this year when direct payments in respect of free school meals are due to end on 30 June.

“I am currently considering options to cover the July and August period and will be making a bid for funding of just over £12m from the Executive’s Covid-19 fund to provide a summer food scheme for those children who normally receive free school meals.

“This will form part of a wider paper on summer activities to be considered by the Executive when they meet on Thursday. This will include a proposal to extend the Education Authority’s ‘Eat Well Live Well’ programme which has been running for a number of months and is currently providing healthy breakfasts and lunches to over 3,000 vulnerable young people.”