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17 June 2020

Government extends voucher scheme for children on free school meals during the summer holidays

Introduced by

Department for Education

Targeted at

Children receiving free school meals


Announced on 16 June 2020, guidance published on 25 June

Stated aims

To support families facing 'increased pressure on household budgets over the coming months'


Initially, the free school meals scheme was to finish at the end of the summer term – now it will be extended to cover the summer holidays. A Covid Summer Food Fund will offer 6-week food vouchers to children eligible for benefits-related free school meals in England during the summer holidays. Children of all ages living in households on income-related benefits may be eligible. During the COVID-19 outbreak, eligibility is being extended to include some groups with no recourse to public funds. Government expects that families being support by this fund will not also access the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for the same purpose. Schools will use the Edenred online portal to order vouchers for the Covid Summer Food Fund. Schools must check they have included orders for all eligible children and submit the email addresses for parents or carers. The government will monitor at school level that the number of vouchers ordered is in line with its 'estimates of the number of eligible children'. The scheme offers a £90 voucher for 6-week summer holidays and £105 for 7-week summer holidays. Vouchers must be ordered at least 1 week before the summer term ends. The voucher will be issued to the family within 7 days. Families can redeem the vouchers in a number of listed supermarkets. Where eligible families would be unable to access any of the supermarkets available through using Edenred eGift cards, schools can make alternative voucher arrangements with a local supermarket not listed by the scheme.


Gov.uk guidance