SCHOOL holidays mean it’s time for the kids to finish their exams and classes to enjoy the beautiful British sunshine.
It also means parents are trying to feed hungry mouths. For some parents, they’ll be claiming Universal Credit and receive school meals during the term time.
Don’t panic, the help doesn’t stop when the holidays start. You can claim vouchers to use at the supermarket that will be the equivalent of what your child receives at school.
Usually parents can claim between £15 to £30, however, this can change depending on the area you live in.
The summer holidays begin 22 July meaning the children will have a whole six weeks until 31 August.
However, holiday dates can vary between schools and their local authorities so make sure you check your child's summer holidays dates.
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With the rising prices due to the cost of living crisis, parents may find themselves scrapping at crumbs to provide lunch for their children.
Since the beginning of the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, the Government has provided children with free school meals.
The programme was meant to be scrapped during the summer of 2020 but footballer Marcus Rashford campaigned for the funding to remain.
Therefore, the Government decided that local authorities should decide if they wanted to continue the programme through the Household Support Fund.
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The fund often gives out vouchers for supermarkets and free cash to help out with bills.
The help given to each family depends on the local authority.
For example with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham council you could be entitled to free school meals and clothing grants to help with school uniform costs.
Islington Council provides free school meals for children attending, children’s centres, early years centres, primary school or secondary school in the area.
The council can also pay you £150 towards the cost of school uniforms when they transfer to secondary school from their last year, year 6, in primary school.
Lewisham Council provides free school meals for primary and secondary years if your annual income is below £16,190 and you receive one of the accepted benefits.
Who is eligible to apply?
Children who are eligible for free school meals must be parents who claim benefits. The benefits included are:
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act in 1999
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you're not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on paid for 4 weeks until you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
If your child receives free school meals during term time then they should be entitled to vouchers during the holidays also.
However, check with your local council as this can change between areas.
Try and apply through the website or school.
Where can I spend free school meal vouchers?
You can claim the vouchers at these supermarkets:
- Marks & Spencer
However, the terms of the vouchers issued by the school could affect where these can be redeemed.
Check with the school to see if any supermarkets won’t be able to accept them.
If you’re not entitled to free school meals there may be other schemes that can help you.
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