Lancs families will get free food vouchers to feed their children

Under new guidance from the Government the families of children who usually get a free school lunch will be given vouchers to access food.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 5:00 pm
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson

The move is aimed at making sure children from poorer families aren't missing out on healthy meals during the coronavirus lockdown.

Parents of those not currently accessing free meals at school will be given vouchers or gift cards worth £15 a week per pupils to use at a range of shops in the area including Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.

The Scheme has been praised d by Lancashire's teaching unions with the National Education Union calling for it to be extndd to cover the forthcoming Easter holidays.

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County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Lancashire's cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said:

"The scheme will allow schools to issue either an electronic voucher or gift card, worth £15 per week, per child. Schools will send out the vouchers directly by email to the eligible families who have internet access. Alternatively, schools can claim the vouchers and then send them out in the post for those families with no internet access.

"These vouchers can be spent on food in a range of shops, although we are hoping that all supermarket chains will sign up to this scheme."

She added food parcels are being delivered to school in case of any problems with the transition to the new vouchers and said: "This is simply a measure to ensure that every child receives a meal, as schools move to the new system.

"It's really important that we do continue to do everything we can do for families during these extraordinary times.

"I urge any parent or carer with questions or concerns about the new system to contact their school directly."

A spokesman for school leaders’ union NAHT, said:"This is welcome news for schools and families. This new system fills in one of the remaining gaps in the complex jigsaw puzzle of provision that has arisen from the Covid-19 crisis. There may be some kinks to work out of the scheme, especially as it has been developed at pace, but at least there is some certainty available now.

The children who are currently being cared for in Lancashire's schoosl and are eligible for a free school meal will continue to receive a daily packed lunch.

Parents of children who are currently attending school, but are not eligible for a free meals are asked to provide a packed lunch.