Apr 11, 2022 at 3:10 p.m
Families in need can receive help feeding their children over the Easter holidays.
Grocery vouchers, which can be used in supermarkets, are available to cover the cost of feeding children when they do not receive a free school meal.
In West Sussex, for example, parents can get a voucher worth £50 per child to help with rising food and energy bills.
In Kirklees, residents can spend £30 per child on food if they are normally entitled to free school meals.
What help is available and how you get it depends on where you live, as each community has a different way of delivering the program.
Vouchers can normally be used in most supermarkets including places like Asda, Tesco and Lidl but check the conditions to see where they can be spent.
But there are some areas where parents are not offered the extra support. In Norwich the voucher system for free school meals has been abolished but there is other support for families in need through the welfare system.
Funding for vouchers for those receiving free school meals has been provided by the government during the coronavirus pandemic.
But it is now up to the local authorities whether they continue to offer the help. Some areas are offering the vouchers through the £500m Budget Support Fund.
Those who may or may not receive free school meals could also receive help from this fund. You can check what is available in your area by contacting your municipality.
Who is entitled to free school meals?
Children whose parents use certain services are entitled to free school meals:
- social care
- Income-related unemployment benefit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Assistance under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of the pension balance
- Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also eligible for Employment Tax Credit and have a gross annual income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit Run-on – Paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and excluding benefits you receive).
If you find your council has stopped giving out free school meals or you are not eligible, there is other support available.
Make sure you get all the help you’re entitled to by using an online benefit calculator.
Food banks can provide families with emergency supplies – you must have a voucher issued by a local community organization such as a school or GP.
You can search for your nearest grocery bank on the Trussell Trust website.