TCC asks Wrexham Council to provide cash to replace free school meals

TCC is asking Wrexham Council to start providing cash to families whose children should be receiving free school meals. 

Currently Wrexham Council is providing a ‘grab and go’ system, where a packed lunch for children who would normally receive free school meals can be collected in person every day. However, take up of this means that less than 10% of eligible children have been receiving meals. 

Many other local authorities have already decided to give direct cash payments to families, whilst in England a scheme provides supermarket vouchers. 

Stephen Garthwaite, headteacher at Ygsol y Grango said “We know there are huge issues around stigma with vouchers, and we’d be very concerned about our parents being able to get to the bigger supermarkets from a more rural area like Rhosllanerchrugog. Many parents are already worried about making journeys out as they have young children or vulnerable adults at home, and they rightly want to adhere to social distancing rules. Vouchers would mean they would have to take longer journeys, and would create additional stress and risk for the poorest families. Cash would provide flexibility and choice, so that people can spend their money in their local shops as normal.” 

TCC lead organiser Kay Polley said “Vouchers can only be used at specific supermarkets, so it could be very difficult for a lot of families to use them, unless they live right in the centre of Wrexham. Getting to a supermarket could mean using public transport which is very limited, or walking long distances. As around two thirds of children eligible for the vouchers live in single parent households, many people would have no choice but to take children shopping with them. Nobody should be placed at a greater risk of contracting coronavirus just because they are poor.

We believe the safest, most dignified, and practical response is to transfer cash directly to families so that people can buy food for themselves.”   


The voucher scheme currently being used by local authorities in England means vouchers can be spent at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, and M&S. Notably this does not include Aldi, Lidl, the Co-op, or any smaller or independent shops.   

Stop School Hunger campaign update - 8th April 2020

​After celebrating our win on TCC’s Stop School Hunger / Dysgu Nid Llwgu campaign, things have obviously now changed dramatically with the coronavirus crisis. We’re working to ensure that Welsh Government’s commitment to funding breakfast in schools for Wales’ poorest pupils still goes ahead, in a pilot scheme for Year 7 pupils this September.


In the meantime, whilst schools are closed for most pupils, we want to ensure that no child who should be receiving free school meals is going hungry. 


We believe that the best way to do that is to give families money directly so that people can provide food for their children themselves. Collecting food in person puts families at unnecessary risk, delivering meals creates huge logistical challenges, and vouchers drastically limit where food can be bought. Asking families to use vouchers contradicts the efforts made to reduce the stigma associated with claiming free school meals. Vouchers can also force people to travel longer distances to get to specific supermarkets which in some circumstances may not be accessible at all, particularly now that public transport is even more limited. 


Last week, we wrote to Education Minister Kirsty Williams, asking her to take action to ensure that all local authorities in Wales provide cash payments directly to families. 


Read our letter to the Education Minister here.


We’ll keep you updated as this work progresses. In the meantime, if you or someone you know has been affected by not being able to access free school meals, or other services, please share your story with us. 


This is completely anonymous, and we won’t ask you for any personal details.  Your story will help us paint a picture of the challenges people in Wales are currently facing, and will help shape TCC’s campaigns for change.

Celebrations for High Sheriff of Clwyd Community Award Winner, Godwin Akinyele

Godwin Akinyele has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to volunteering by the High Sheriff of Clwyd. Godwin said: “This is not my first award, either here in the UK or in Africa, but I think there is something spectacular about this: being honoured and rewarded for what I simply enjoy doing – giving myself to serving others even when it is least convenient.

I want to say thank you to the office of the High Sheriff of Clwyd for considering me worthy for this award. I also want to express my profound gratitude to the British Red Cross, Welsh Refugee Council, Bawso and TCC for providing platforms to demonstrate my skills and passions. This award is a sure booster; an inspiration to continue in what I know how to do, because reward awaits everything.”

Godwin is a volunteer caseworker for British Red Cross Refugee Services and Welsh Refugee Council. He is also a support volunteer with Bawso. Godwin is also a VOICES Ambassador. People from the VOICES Network are experts by experience on refugee and asylum seekers issues, who contribute to shaping policies, news stories and improving services. Godwin was elected in the year 2019 as the Volunteer Representative of the British Red Cross (Refugee Services) for North Wales.  On top of all this, Godwin is a supporter of the Wrexham Town of Sanctuary campaign.

Godwin was nominated for the award by Wrexham Town of Sanctuary, a coalition of individuals, community groups, faith groups and organisations working together to make Wrexham more welcoming for people who have fled their home countries due to war, violence or persecution. Lucy Allin, Wrexham Town of Sanctuary Coordinator at TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities) said: “When a person has been forced to leave their home country, it is vital they feel safe, respected and welcomed into their new community. Godwin’s volunteering makes a huge difference to people who are refugees or asylum seekers feeling welcomed in our communities. This award reflects how highly regarded Godwin’s skills and dedication are, within the community, and by a wide range of organisations.”

Wanjiku Ngotho-Mbugua, regional director of the Wrexham branch of Bawso, one of the supporting organisations involved with Wrexham Town of Sanctuary, and also a TCC member group said: “I’m so pleased that Godwin has won this award. He totally deserves it. He has taken his role as a volunteer very seriously and is available and punctual on all his days in work. He also comes to the office very smartly dressed and cheerful and sometimes I just wonder how he manages to do this every week when his own life is full of challenges- being a sanctuary seeker in Wales.


He has touched so many lives, especially those of asylum seekers, they have all benefitted from his sensible advice that comes from a well lived experience.”

Save The Date - TCC turns 25!

We're incredibly proud that in 2020 we will be celebrating TCC's long history as the UK's oldest community organising charity. 


Please save the date and we'll have more details soon! 

Next residential community organising training: 4th - 5th June 2020

Interactive sessions cover building power, working with decision makers, and developing public relationships.  Throughout the training we ask participants to reflect on their own roles in public life, and to share their experiences of working in community.  This could be as a student, faith leader, or community group member.  Anyone is welcome to attend the course, which is free to TCC members.  

Click here for more information and to book a place

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