The last chance is fast approaching for parents to register for free school meal vouchers for the summer holidays through the national government scheme.
Parents who think they may be eligible to receive the vouchers are urged to get in touch with their schools immediately to ensure their application can be processed before schools close for the summer.
Following a well publicised and highly successful campaign by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford last month, the government agreed to extend the national free school meals scheme this year to include the long summer break from school.
The extended scheme will provide families with a single voucher worth £90 per eligible child over the six week summer holiday period.
In order to receive the voucher however and make sure they don’t miss out, it is imperative that parents check their eligibility and register with their school no later than the start of next week. This is to meet the deadline set by the government for schools to apply for the vouchers on behalf of their parents.
Parents who have not claimed free school meals before but whose circumstances have changed during the pandemic are also urged to check with their school to make sure they also benefit from the vouchers if they are now entitled to them.
Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council, said: “Marcus Rashford’s winning campaign saw a fantastic result that is now going to help feed thousands of children over the summer holidays not just in Manchester, but up and down the country.
“These are extraordinary times that have led to even more families across the city struggling, so the summer food vouchers will make a real difference to children and families who would otherwise go without.
“It’s vital though that any parent who hasn’t yet applied for the scheme does so immediately. If you think you’re entitled to free school meals, check out the eligibility criteria now and speak to your school to make sure you’re counted in and you get the help you need.”
If you receive one of the following benefits your child or children may be eligible for free school meals:
Universal Credit and your household income after tax is less than £7,400 per year (not including any benefits you get)
Child Tax Credit, as long as you are not getting Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of less than £16,190
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
The guarantee part of Pension Credit
Asylum seeker support
Children aged between 16 and 18 who are getting Universal Credit in their own name can also get free school meals.
While schools are open, all children in reception or years 1 or 2 are entitled to free lunches, but this doesn’t in itself mean your family will be entitled to vouchers. If your child has been getting free lunches because they are in reception or year 1 or 2 and you are on a low income, please check with your school whether you should register now for free school meals so you can get the vouchers.