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M&S top up free school meals voucher to £20

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Families spending their vouchers at M&S will have the amount topped up by £5 a week for each £15 lunch voucher redeemed at M&S.

M&S says the additional £5 can be used to provide children with a healthy nutritious breakfast in addition to lunch.

The free school meals voucher scheme went live earlier this week. 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.

Marcus Rashford MBE, the footballer who campaigned for free school meals, said: “As a child, I relied on breakfast clubs to kick start my day the right way. Breakfast is so important to guarantee children have the ability to engage in learning, and to flourish within the education system, to go on to succeed at whatever they choose to do in life.

“Education is the most effective means of breaking cycles of hardship in some respects but education is only achievable with strong engagement and concentration. Unfortunately for the majority, hunger does not allow that. I thank M&S for taking the strong initiative to support the uplift of the vouchers to cover an essential meal of the day and I’m confident we will see a great response from those most vulnerable.”

To help parents shop and prepare simple, tasty and nutritionally balanced breakfasts and lunches, M&S’ senior in-house nutritionist, Laura Street has developed a downloadable breakfast and lunch planner.

The online planner includes hints, tips and mealtime inspiration for 10 meals for two children, all with minimal food preparation, as well as tips on avoiding food waste. The planner includes family favourites such as porridge with fruit, eggs and soldiers, flour tortilla pizzas with salad and tomato pasta.

Stuart Machin, M&S Food managing director, said: “M&S always puts customers at the heart of what we do and we want to step up and do our bit to help families during this difficult time. Through bolstering the government’s £15 meal voucher to £20, we can ensure that children get a nutritious breakfast as well as lunch and we are delighted that Marcus Rashford is supporting our efforts. We also continue our work with Neighbourly to redistribute surplus food from our stores, supporting over 2,100 local causes, from food banks to youth clubs, with donations of more than 20 million meals since the scheme began in 2015.”