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Covid winter grant holiday food voucher scheme

During the December school holidays, families of primary, secondary and sixth form college pupils who currently receive free school meals (FSM ) will be sent supermarket vouchers.

We’re providing these using the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to buy food over the festive period. Eligible pre-school aged children in Leicestershire County Council maintained nurseries (including academies) will also receive the vouchers if they usually attend sessions before and after lunch. 

What is the holiday food voucher scheme?

The holiday food voucher scheme is way of providing funds to ensure families of children who are eligible are able to purchase food over the holidays to replace the meals a child would have received during a school day.

An electronic voucher that can be emailed to families and spent at eight major supermarkets is the quickest and easiest way to do this. Arrangements are in place for families that cannot access the internet.
Families of children that are currently in receipt of free school meals are eligible for a supermarket voucher to the value of £30 per child (£15 per week for the 2-week school Christmas holiday) to help pay for groceries over the festive period.

Who can access the scheme?

Many families in Leicestershire have seen their financial or family circumstances change due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. If you are on low income and receive certain benefits your child may be able to get free school meals and supermarket vouchers during the holidays.

Who qualifies for the scheme?

Your child may be able to get free school meals and holiday vouchers if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also 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 after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

If your child does not currently receive free school meals but you think they qualify, please apply online through our Free school meals page as soon as possible, and by Friday 18 December at the latest in order to receive the holiday vouchers for this Christmas period. This is the quickest and easiest way for your eligibility to be assessed. 

What if my child attends an Independent Special school?

Due to the Winter grant we may be able to offer food vouchers to those families who have children based within an Independent Special School, if you meet the free school meals criteria above/below.

You may have a child in a mainstream who is eligible, but you will still need to email the FSM department to apply for your child if they are based in an independent special school.

For those families that were previously eligible, please email the FSM department directly: freeschoolmeals@leics.gov.uk and include your child’s name, date of birth and the mainstream school they did attend along with the school they now attend and then we will email the voucher back to yourselves. 

If you have any further queries, or need support, you can call your SEN Officer Meloney Ison on 0116 305 6796 who can liaise with the FSM department.

What about 0-5 early years children?

Children who are attending early years provision at a childminder, pre-school or day nursery may be entitled to the vouchers. If your child is entitled to 2-year-old Free Early Education (FEEE) or Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and is in an early years setting talk to your provider about how you can receive your vouchers.

What if my child attends school outside of Leicestershire?

We will provide vouchers for all children attending schools within the Leicestershire County Council administrative area, irrespective of where they live. If your child lives within Leicestershire but attends school in a neighbouring authority, the school they attend should make arrangements to support them.

How to apply for free school meals

If your child already receives free school meals you will automatically qualify for the holiday vouchers scheme, you don’t need to apply again. Please get in touch with our free school meals team if you were expecting to receive vouchers but haven’t. You can email them at freeschoolmeals@leics.gov.uk  

About the vouchers

All families currently in receipt of free school meals will be sent one unique code per child. Families with more than one child entitled to free school meals, will receive a unique code for each child. 

The code must be used to get the full amount of vouchers in one go. The vouchers are valid for three months from the date they are sent to you by Edenred.

The letter or email containing the unique code to get the voucher will be sent to the main contact details we have on record, which is usually the parent that made the original application for free school meals. If you are separated from your child’s other parent and your child spends part of their time with them, you will need to make your own arrangements to split the voucher once you’ve received it if necessary.

How to use the vouchers

Your unique code can be claimed via Endenred - Free school meal vouchers 

You will be able to choose your preferred supermarket and add your vouchers to your basket.

The vouchers can be spent in store or some supermarkets accept them online if you get your groceries delivered – please check before choosing which store to get your vouchers for.

You can mix and match supermarkets and use your code to get vouchers for more than one retailer up to a total value of your code.

Please then checkout of the ‘Edenred’ website by providing an email address for them to send you your chosen supermarket vouchers electronically within 24 hours. There is no option to receive physical vouchers by post from the Edenred website. If you need this option then your school may be able to help.

Once you have received the vouchers to your email inbox, you can save them to your phone or tablet to use online or show at the checkout in store. Alternatively, you can print the vouchers off to give to the cashier.

If you are struggling to access your vouchers because you don’t have access to the internet or a mobile device to receive and store the vouchers on, and don’t have any friends or family to help, please speak to your school or early years setting.

Where can the vouchers be spent?

The vouchers can be used in any of these eight supermarkets chains and you can choose the most convenient supermarket for you:

  • Sainsburys
  • Tesco
  • Morrisons
  • Asda
  • Waitrose
  • M&S Food
  • McColl’s
  • Aldi

What can the vouchers be spent on?

The vouchers should be spent on household groceries. You are free to select the most appropriate food and drink for your child. We would encourage you to select healthy and nutritious food. 

What if there's a problem with my code or vouchers?

If you are currently in receipt of free school meals and were expecting to receive he vouchers but didn’t, please email our free school meals team on freeschoolmeals@leics.gov.uk or call our FSM helpline on 0116 3055417

If you received a letter from us with your unique code, but are experiencing issues using it on the Edenred website, please visit the Edenred website's help and information page.  

If you completed the process of inputting your unique code on the website to get your vouchers but they haven’t arrived in your inbox yet please remember they can take up to 24 hours to arrive and could be filtered into your junk folder. If you still haven’t received the vouchers from Edenred, please contact them on:

freeschoolmealsparentscarers@edenred.com   

What about other school holidays?

This scheme will continue for the February half-term holiday and Easter holidays in 2021.
 

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