Minister O’Gorman announces new scheme to pilot the
provision of hot meals to children in early learning and
Tuesday 22 November 2022
– €150,000 scheme to pilot the provision a range of meal options to children,
including the provision of hot meals.
– Pilot sites will include early learning and childcare settings operating in areas of
– Results from pilot scheme to inform wider work under way to develop a DEIS type
model for early learning and childcare.
Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
today announced €150,000 in funding for a scheme to pilot the provision of meals, including
hot meals, to children in early learning and childcare settings.
The pilot scheme, which is being funded under Dormant Accounts Funding, will test a range
of meal options for children in early learning and childcare settings operating in areas of
The three meal options in the pilot scheme will be:
– Breakfast or snack
– Breakfast or snack, plus a packed lunch for children to take home
– Hot meal or snack
As well as funding, pilot settings will have the assistance of a dietician to support the
selection of the meal options.
The pilot scheme will be subject to an evaluation that will include consultation with children
and their families, educators and service managers.
The pilot scheme is one of a range of measures committed to under First 5, a whole-of government
strategy for babies, young children and their families, to help tackle early childhood poverty
and to support children’s health, learning and development.
The results of the pilot scheme will inform decisions about wider roll out as well as work
ongoing in the Department to develop a DEIS-type model for early learning and childcare,
which aims to provide services with a proportionate mix of universal and targeted supports
to support children and families accessing their services who are experiencing disadvantage.
Pobal will support the delivery and evaluation of this pilot scheme.
In announcing the pilot scheme, Minister O’Gorman said:
“Early learning and childcare services work very hard every day to support children
experiencing disadvantage and are uniquely placed to ensure these children can access
nutritious meals and snacks – which is so important for children’s health, learning and
Already, as required by regulation, children attending these services on a full-time basis are
provided with two meals (one hot) and two snacks throughout the day. This covers a
significant proportion of their daily food intake – as much as 70 percent.
For children attending these services for shorter periods however, the provision of food is far
more limited. Under this scheme, a range of meal options, including a hot meal, will be
piloted among this cohort.
The results of the pilot scheme is being undertaken under First 5 and as part of wider work
underway in my Department to develop a DEIS-type model for early learning and childcare”.
Anna Shakespeare, CEO of Pobal said:
“Pobal is delighted to partner the Department on this important initiative given the impact
this intervention will have on children experiencing disadvantage.”