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Free school meal voucher scheme for the October half-term

Families whose children receive benefits-related free school meals will receive vouchers to help with the costs of food during the October half-term. This follows the recent launch of the government's Household Support Fund (HSF) grant scheme.

Through the fund, schools can support eligible pupils with a £15 voucher to cover the one-week holiday. The families of children and young people from reception to Year 11 will receive the vouchers.

Lancashire County Councillor Jayne Rear, cabinet member for education and skills, said: "I welcome this news from the government as it means that some eligible families will continue to receive support whilst the schools are closed for the half-term break.

"We're pleased that the government has announced this new grant, as we can use it to help some of our families. Unfortunately, school holidays can be a real challenge for our poorest families in Lancashire. The vouchers will help to ensure that children will be able to have healthy and nourishing meals during the holiday."

If a family is eligible for free school meals, their school will be in touch with them about the voucher scheme.

The electronic shopping vouchers will be distributed from the schools that the children and young people attend and will be available to use to buy food at a range of supermarkets.

Similar to the term-time voucher scheme, the vouchers can be used at Aldi, Asda, McColl’s, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Company Shop Group and Iceland, including The Food Warehouse Stores.

Families can redeem vouchers by either presenting them on their smartphone or tablet, or a paper copy.

Families who are currently receiving Free School Meals, and the following benefits, will receive the vouchers directly from schools:
- 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
- Working Tax Credit run-on
- Universal Tax Credit

Information about the eligibility criteria for free school meals can be found at www.lancashire.gov.uk/children-education-families/schools/free-school-meals

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