Food vouchers will be provided for Kent families whose children are entitled to benefits-related Free School Meals this October half-term.
Kent County Council has today (Thursday, October 14) announced it will fund one £15 food voucher per eligible child or young person, which can be used in supermarkets and local shops.
KCC will fund the vouchers using part of its allocation from the Government’s Household Support Fund, which was launched in September to help local authorities support some of their most vulnerable households during the winter. The vouchers are the first scheme KCC has announced it will be funding from its £11.06m allocation and details of further proposed spending will be announced in due course.
Shellina Prendergast, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We are pleased to announce that we will be providing food vouchers for some of the county’s most vulnerable families during the upcoming October half-term holiday. We have offered food vouchers to families whose children are entitled to benefits-related Free School Meals during every school holiday since late 2020 and it was important to my colleagues and me that we were able to continue to support families while the country is still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The school holidays can be difficult times for families who are struggling financially as children and young people are at home for more meal times, leading to increased food bills, so we hope the vouchers help to ease the pressure on parents and carers in this position. We are also pleased the Government has listened to the concerns of Kent County Council and other local authorities, has recognised the challenges low-income families are facing at this time, and has provided the Household Support Fund, which has enabled us to continue to fund food vouchers for families who need them during the school holidays.
“I would now urge all parents and carers who feel their children may be entitled to receive benefits-related Free School Meals, but who have not yet applied for them, to visit our website and do so as soon as possible so that no one misses out on this fantastic scheme.”
Even if a child receives Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) during term-time, because they are in Year 2 or below, eligible families will still need to apply for benefits-related Free School Meals in order to receive vouchers during the October half term break.
Schools will allocate the vouchers to their pupils, as they have done during previous holiday periods, so parents and carers should direct any enquiries to their child’s school.
Both primary and secondary schools receive additional Government funding, called Pupil Premium, for each of their pupils who receive benefits-related Free School Meals. Schools use this funding to support pupils’ learning so signing up for Free School Meals will likely benefit a number of pupils in addition to parents and carers’ own children.
- Find out more about who is eligible for benefits-related Free School Meals and how to apply for them here: https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/free-school-meals