Free school meals vouchers for Easter

 

Families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be provided with supermarket vouchers worth £40 to cover the upcoming Easter school holidays by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

From tomorrow (March 26) eligible families who received vouchers from the council’s free school meals scheme during the February holidays will automatically receive an email.

Once they confirm they would like a £40 voucher per child, a further email will be sent containing the supermarket voucher codes.

New applications from families who haven’t claimed the vouchers before can be made online via this page from Friday March 26. Families who received the vouchers in February should not reapply as it could cause a delay in them receiving their vouchers.

In February, the council issued 3,958 vouchers to families in B&NES.

The electronic vouchers can be spent in a range of supermarkets and are available to the families of pupils entitled to benefit-related free school meals, as well as parents who receive free childcare for two-year-olds.

The scheme is part of a wide range of community support for vulnerable families including FOOD clubs, food banks, welfare and financial support.

Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “I’m delighted that once again we’re able to support families with this scheme over the Easter holidays. Many families are struggling with various financial pressures due to the pandemic, so I hope this eases at least one burden and will allow them to enjoy family time together without worrying how they will put food on the table.”

The scheme is funded from the Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme. There are currently more than 4,000 children in Bath and North East Somerset who receive benefit-related free school meals.

3SG and St John’s Foundation have already allocated £55,000 from a local fundraising appeal to community-led food projects serving communities of high-need across Bath and North East Somerset.

There is also community support for families:

  • Anyone finding it hard to stay afloat on their food budget can contact their nearest FOOD Club or Pantry for an affordable way to supplement a weekly shop. Details can be found on the BANES Foodfinder at www.banesfoodfinder.org.uk/listing/food-clubs-pantries
  • Details of food banks across BANES are also on that link and they can tell you how to access a voucher to meet more urgent need.
  • Anyone in need of support around food, money, debt, mental health, housing or employment is encouraged to contact the Community Wellbeing Hub, by calling 0300 247 0050 or email at BATHNES.thehub@virgincare.co.uk, where you will be connected to a wide range of support under one roof. The Hub is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.
  • Alternatively, the Welfare Support team can offer short-term, financial crisis support and are contactable on 01225 477 277 or email at welfare_support@bathnes.gov.uk.
  • A searchable and comprehensive online listing of a wide range of community support across BANES can be found on the One Big Database at  www.bathnes1bd.org.uk