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Families given access to free school meal vouchers during summer holidays

Posted on - 7th July, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Food & Drink, People, Politics, Preston News, Schools
Free school meal voucher scheme for summer holidays welcomed by Lancashire County Council
Some families in Preston will be able to access the new voucher scheme

Some families in Preston will now receive free school meal vouchers during the school summer holidays.

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This follows the launch of the government’s Covid Summer Food Fund to support children who usually receive benefits-related free school meals.

Through the fund, schools can support eligible pupils with a £90 voucher to cover the standard six-week holiday period, or £105 if the summer holiday lasts seven full weeks.

This is an extension of the Free School Meals national voucher scheme and will support children who usually receive benefits-related free school meals.

Read more: Preston schools to benefit from funding boost by Lancashire County Council

Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “This is a really difficult time for many people right now but especially so for some families who, through no fault of their own, are finding it hard to make ends meet.

“I welcome this news from the government as it means that some eligible families will continue to receive support whilst the schools are closed for the summer.

“The vouchers will help to alleviate some of the financial pressures that many families are facing as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the summer holidays are a time when some children are not able to have a healthy and nutritious free school meal and so these vouchers are all the more important as families continue to move into what will be the new normal way of living.”

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If a family is eligible for free school meals, their school will be in touch with them about the voucher scheme.

Parents who think their family is newly eligible should contact their school as soon as possible.

Read more: County Council hands over responsibility for stairlifts to Preston City Council

Vouchers must be ordered by schools through the Edenred portal at least one week before the end of term and it will be issued to the family within seven days unless the school has specified a different distribution date.

Parents will be issued with an eGift card which can be used to buy food at a range of supermarkets. Similar to the term-time voucher scheme, the vouchers can be used at Aldi, Asda, M&S, McColl’s, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose. Company Shop Group and Iceland, including The Food Warehouse Stores, have been recently added to the list.

Schools can also make alternative arrangements for a family to use another supermarket, if this is necessary.

Read more: Kirkham Grammar pupil gives up school holiday for Rosemere Cancer Foundation

Families can redeem vouchers by either presenting them on their smartphone or tablet, or a paper copy.

Families may be eligible if they receive:
– Income Support
– Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
– Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
– Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
– The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
– Child Tax Credit
– Working Tax Credit run-on
– Universal Tax Credit

Information about the eligibility criteria for free school meals can be found online.

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Will the Summer Food Fund help your family? Tell us more in the comments below.

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