THE Island’s dairy farmers are providing free milk for young children as part of an industry-led initiative.
From Monday more than 500 primary age pupils at Helvetia House, St George’s and St Michael’s schools will each receive a free 200 ml carton of milk once a week.
Jersey Dairy says the pilot scheme is the first step in the dairy industry’s plan to eventually make free milk available once a week to the more than 6,000 primary pupils across the States and private sector schools.
And to celebrate World School Milk Day today, free milk vouchers are being given to every primary school pupil to be redeemed at participating retailers.
The farmers who supply Jersey Dairy are giving the milk for free. The dairy will also process and package the milk free of charge.
‘A healthy and nutritious diet is widely recognised as a vital ingredient in successful learning,’ Jersey Dairy’s MD Eamon Fenlon said.
‘Launching this scheme is a great way to help children get the nutrition they need as milk is full of calcium and a good source of several important vitamins.
‘We’re thrilled to be re-introducing milk to Jersey schools and very grateful to the three schools that came forward to be part of the pilot scheme. We all believe that good quality milk is an essential part of a healthy childhood.’
The States voted to end its financial support of the school milk scheme in September 2010 to save £183,000 from the Economic Development budget as part of government spending cuts.
The following July, after 7,268 Islanders signed a petition to re-introduce the scheme, Deputy Geoff Southern asked the States Assembly to restore free milk, but his proposition was rejected by Members.
Education Minister Rod Bryans, who supports the scheme, said: ‘States schools will be taking part in the voucher scheme for World School Milk Day and for one day a week in future if the pilot is a success.
‘The voucher is the perfect solution. It means children get free milk via school and their parents get involved in the decision about their child’s healthy eating.’
Source: Jersey Evening Post