Highland Council has issued more than 7,500 free school meals through e-vouchers to families across the region while schools are closed.
The payments of £15 per child per week help support many families who are experiencing difficulties due to the coronavirus emergency. The council estimates that by June, 60,000 payments will be issued to eligible families.
After schools were closed, the council had initially drawn up plans for eligible pupils to receive their meals at their nearest local high school.
However, the idea was quickly scrapped in favour of a voucher scheme
The service – which was initially delivered digitally using e-vouchers – will also be available through a Co-op card, Post Office PayOut; and Scotmid paper vouchers from next week, beginning Monday 27th April.
Families who already receive free school meal provision do not need to apply as the council will automatically provide payment vouchers to them.
Those who have been affected, and haven’t yet claimed, are being encouraged to apply for free school meals as soon as possible on the council’s website
A helpline number has also been set up for anyone who is struggling and needing urgent help during this crisis.
The single line number – 0300 303 1362 – will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. All calls are free.