National free school meals voucher scheme opens to orders

National free school meals voucher scheme opens to orders

Edenred site opens for schools to purchase eGift cards for eligible families to use at their choice of supermarkets.

Schools can begin ordering free school meal vouchers for eligible pupils from today as the Government’s national scheme launches, adding to the support available for disadvantaged families.

An online service for schools, the scheme allows schools to place orders for supermarket gift cards on behalf of parents and carers whose children are eligible for free school meals.

The vouchers are worth £15 a week per child and families can receive codes by email to redeem themselves, or as a gift card provided by post, collection or delivery to families without internet access.

The national scheme, run through Edenred, also ran between March and August last year, with £380 million worth of voucher codes redeemed into supermarket gift cards during that time.

From today, schools can order vouchers for the four-week period between 18 January and 12 February.

Edenred have reported that, as of 13:15 this afternoon, more than 4,600 orders have been placed by schools through the national voucher scheme worth a total of £9.18m.

In addition to the national scheme, schools can continue providing free meals to eligible pupils via lunch parcels, through catering suppliers, or via locally arranged solutions. This might include vouchers for a local shop or supermarket not currently included in the national scheme.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

During the February half term, vulnerable families will continue to receive meals and other essentials through the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme as they did during the Christmas holidays. Launched in November last year, the Grant Scheme is helping families struggling with the costs of fuel and food and is ringfenced, with 80% earmarked to support families until the end of March 2021.