Free £15 school meals voucher scheme live
Schools can order free school meals vouchers for eligible children, allowing families to buy food at selected supermarkets.
The vouchers are worth £15 a week per child and the national scheme is run through Edenred.
Families can receive codes via email to redeem online or gift cards can be sent by post or picked up for those without an internet connection so they can shop in-store.
During March and August 2020 when the scheme last ran, £380m worth of voucher codes were redeemed at supermarkets.
The re-launched scheme comes a week after catering firm Chartwells was slammed for its “woefully inadequate” £30 food parcels delivered to children, with some boxes containing just £5 worth of food to cover 10 days’ of supplies.
At the time, education secretary, Gavin Williamson, confirmed a national food voucher scheme would be launched in the following week.
He said: “There should be no doubt in this government’s commitment to free school meals support for children who need the most help.
“The centrally-funded national voucher scheme gives schools another option in providing that support – but they can of course continue providing locally-arranged solutions or high-quality lunch parcels where this is most convenient for their families. These costs will be reimbursed.
“As was the case over Christmas, vulnerable families will continue to receive meals and other essentials over February half term via councils through the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme launched last year.”
There are currently 10 supermarkets which accept the vouchers: Aldi, Asda, Iceland, M&S, McColls, Morrisons Sainsbury’s, Tesco, the Company Shop Group and Waitrose.