Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Education Minister Michelle McIlveen have visited Eden Primary School in Carrickfergus, one of 442 Primary Schools in Northern Ireland to participate in the School Milk Subsidy Scheme.
66 of the 211 pupils attending Eden PS avail of milk through the DAERA-funded scheme, which is delivered by the Education Authority. The Scheme encourages the consumption of milk by children and young people in educational establishments by making them available to pupils at a reduced cost.
During their visit, the Ministers met with School Principal Dr Martin Sheeran and some of the pupils to hear about the benefits of the Scheme, which establishes milk and dairy products as an important component of a nutritious and healthy balanced diet for schoolchildren, as well as providing the children with an understanding of the origins of milk and what contribution dairy products can make to their health. It also encourages a healthy way of living and sound eating habits at an early age.
Minister Poots said: "I fully support the School Milk Subsidy Scheme as drinking milk from an early age provides the calcium and protein that young bodies need for their development. It also makes an important contribution to the promotion of healthy eating habits and good nutritional health for later life. The subsidy that my Department provides helps to reduce the cost to parent whose children participate in the Scheme."
The Minister continued: "There is a good level of uptake by primary and special schools, but there is room for improvement. The subsidy that my Department provides helps to reduce the cost to parents / guardians whose children participate in the Scheme."
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said: "It is clear that pupils at Eden Primary School are benefiting from the School Milk Subsidy scheme. It not only encourages a healthy way of living, but also sound eating habits at an early age.
"The distribution of milk products in participating schools is part of a wider scheme to teach young people about food and farming and the importance of a balanced diet."