About Pest Control Aldgate

Coronavirus: Families still waiting for free school meal vouchers

Teachers packing food parcels

Image caption

In Wembley, north London, Elsley Primary School has resorted to food parcels and vouchers bought from its own budget

The Department for Education says it does not know how many vouchers for free school meals have been delivered to parents over the past month.

A scheme to give poor pupils in England vouchers worth £15 a week until schools reopen has been beset with problems.

Some school staff have had to stay up late into the night to access the online system, while many parents cannot download the vouchers.

Edenred, which runs the scheme, said it was aware of problems.

About 1.3 million children in England are eligible for free school meals.

One school, in Worcestershire, unable to access vouchers for their vulnerable families for the past fortnight, turned to a charity to provide food parcels.

Pinvin Federation advisory head teacher Judith Tinsley said the system “has been a nightmare”.

“It’s complicated, overloaded, we’ve got families who’ve not received a voucher for 10 days, that’s two weeks’ worth of vouchers,” she said.

“They have received the codes but then the system has not allowed them in to redeem their codes.

“And then some of our families that have actually managed to get that far have turned up at the supermarket and not been able to use them against their shopping.”

‘Unnecessarily complicated’

In Wembley, north London, Elsley Primary School has resorted to food parcels and vouchers bought from its own budget.

Head teacher Raphael Moss has even had to use his own personal credit card.

From the outset, he said, the “unnecessarily complicated” system had thrown up “a catalogue of errors, of chaos really, with the system not being able to cope”.

In Bodmin, Cornwall, school catering manager Jo Wotton said she had paid for a family’s shopping after the mother’s voucher code failed at a supermarket till.

“She only had £3 in her purse,” she told BBC News.

“The shopping was £16 – it was obvious she had counted her money really carefully, going round the supermarket.

“She had a small child with her.

“I could see she was getting really flustered.”

The checkout worker told her the supermarket had seen several vouchers fail the same day.

Error code

Heather McNeillis, a mother of four children under 10, three of whom are eligible for free school meals, said she had waited two weeks for her first vouchers.

“The money matters – we’ve been able to eat fresh fruit and vegetables because of it,” she said.

But she has been unable to download her current vouchers, worth £45, as the website keeps crashing.

Image caption

Heather McNeillis has four children under 10

“It suggests you log on at 04:00 as that’s a quiet time,” she said.

“I’ve had it on my computer all day, trying several different ways.

“And it’s always a long wait… and an error code.”

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devised their own systems for helping their vulnerable pupils, which are more straightforward and have had fewer reported problems than the English system.

The Department for Education and Edenred said £35m worth of vouchers had been redeemed over the past month.

However, neither were able to say what proportion of that total were orders registered for the 15,500 schools signed up to the system, as opposed to vouchers actually delivered in a useable form to families.

The Department for Education told BBC News: “We do not have this data available at this time.”

They also said they did not know how many eligible children had been registered with the scheme, though they said the total number of schools on the system represented about 70% of those that qualified for the programme.

They did, however, say schools that could not make the Edenred system work would be reimbursed for creating alternative schemes.

“We are providing additional funding to schools to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the coronavirus outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources – including free school meal costs which are not covered by the national voucher system.”

In a statement, Edenred said: “The free school meals voucher scheme is helping thousands of families and the vast majority of codes and vouchers are being redeemed successfully.

“We are aware that some schools have faced long wait times when using the site.

“We would like to thank each and every person who has faced issues in the process of ordering codes and e-gift cards for their patience, particularly given the other pressures facing schools at this time.”

bed bug exterminator

Source link

Koko Camden: Fire engulfs famous music venue

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionOne third of the roof of Koko in Camden was on fire at one point, the London Fire Brigade says

One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.

The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.

Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.

The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.

Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”

Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”

Image caption

The fire in the building’s roof was brought under control in the early hours of Tuesday

Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.

Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.

The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.

Image copyright
Oliver Cooper

Image caption

About 60 firefighters helped tackle a fire at Koko in Camden High Street

It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.

In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.

Image copyright

Image caption

Opening night at Camden Palace 1981 with Steve Strange (left)

Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.

Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.

“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.

Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.

In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.

On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.

The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.

Image caption

The venue hosted the BBC’s Electric Proms in 2007

Image copyright
PA Media

Image caption

Koko has hosted some of music’s biggest names including Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Prince

Do you have memories of attending gigs at Koko? Share your experiences by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

wasp nest removal

Source link

Norwich City v Crystal Palace

Norwich boss Daniel Farke saw his side draw with Spurs despite leading twice. The Canaries are the only club not to have won a Premier League point from a losing position this season.


Norwich midfielder Kenny McLean is a doubt to face Crystal Palace because of a foot problem.

Josip Drmic is not expected to return until the weekend, while Ben Godfrey and Timm Klose are long-term absentees.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is again expected to be without a host of first-team players.

Christian Benteke, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andros Townsend, Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt are all on the sidelines.

Hodgson has revealed that Martin Kelly played with a muscle strain against Southampton, while Cheikhou Kouyate has said he has a groin issue.



Follow live text coverage from 19:00 GMT on Tuesday