Voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals
PUBLISHED: 10:37 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:37 07 April 2020
Children eligible for free school meals will benefit from a national voucher scheme allowing them to continue to access meals while they stay at home.
Schools can provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.
Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves, but where this is not possible, the scheme will allow schools to provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access.
The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, with the Department of Education working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.
Schools across North Somerset adopted the scheme on Tuesday.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I recognise that the unprecedented action this government is taking to protect the country from coronavirus – including closing schools – is affecting the lives of many families.
“I want to thank schools for the support they are continuing to provide to families during such uncertain times.
“No child should go hungry as a result of the measures introduced to keep people at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
“That’s why we are launching this scheme to make sure children who usually benefit from free school meals still have access to healthy and nutritious meals while they are not attending school.”
Parents will receive the voucher through their child’s school, which can then be redeemed online via a code, or sent to their house as a gift card and used at supermarkets across the country.
Schools will be emailed by the Department for Education’s chosen supplier, Edenred, and will then be able to order vouchers individually online and have a code sent by email to each family.
The family can then show the code on their phone at the supermarket or arrange a bulk order of multiple codes and receive an Excel spreadsheet to help schools organise sending on to a family, or create an eGift card for a preferred supermarket to be posted to a family if parents cannot get online.
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