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Free school meal vouchers for B&NES children this Christmas

Date published: 2020-12-08 | Category: Schools, Colleges and Learning


Free school meal vouchers for B&NES children this Christmas

Bath & North East Somerset Council is providing free school meal vouchers to more than 4,000 eligible children this Christmas.

The supermarket vouchers worth £40 for the two weeks of the holidays are available to the families of pupils entitled to benefit-related free school meals. The vouchers are part of a wide range of support for vulnerable families during the Christmas period.

The vouchers are also available for parents of pupils under school age who are in nursery or pre-school settings, and where parents receive free child care for two-year-olds ( where benefits are such that you would have been entitled to free school meals).

Parents or carers will get the electronic voucher for each qualifying child to spend on food in a range of supermarkets.

The council is distributing the vouchers over the next two weeks and parents will be able to apply for vouchers from today. For parents who do not have access to the internet, applications can be made by calling  01225 477777 option 4.

There are currently more than 4,000 children in Bath and North East Somerset who receive benefit-related free school meals and the scheme will cost £250k covering Christmas and February half-term. It is funded from the Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services, today said: “It is going to be a challenging Christmas for many families this year due to the devastating impact of coronavirus and parents shouldn’t have to choose between food on the table and some presents for their children. We have worked hard to make sure that this scheme is in place over the next two weeks. We have also committed to funding Free School Meals vouchers for February half term and we will be looking to provide support during the Easter holidays if funding is available.”

 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 over Christmas:

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Many community groups and organisations across B&NES are working hard to source and pack Christmas hampers for families they work with and know will welcome that additional support at this time of year. 

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