Holiday mealtime lifeline for disadvantaged families

Families on low incomes are being offered a mealtime lifeline over the long school holidays.

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 3:45 pm

Education chiefs in Lancashire have confirmed they will be handing out food vouchers to hard-up families over the six weeks school holidays.

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

Schools can access the fund to 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.

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Parents will be provided with an eGift card to spend at a range of different shops and supermarkets similar to the scheme which operated over the Easter break.

Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Lancashire's 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.

She added: "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."

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.

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

Peopel may be eligible is they recevi cetain benefits including:

- 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 at https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/children-education-families/schools/free-school-meals/