My kids get free school meals. Now that schools have closed will I be able to get help towards the cost of feeding them?

The government’s scheme of replacing free school meals during the coronavirus shutdown went live on 31st March. Now, parents and carers of the 1.3 million schoolchildren in the UK who are eligible for free school meals can get a £15 weekly voucher. The vouchers are only eligible in term time weeks.

The voucher can be used in a number of supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Morrrison’s and Asda. The vouchers will be distributed by schools, either through a digital code that can be used via a smartphone in supermarkets, or via a gift card that will be sent out/collected from the school. Some schools will also be keeping their kitchens open (or using off site caterers), and will be able to deliver the school dinners or have them collected by a parent or carer.

The voucher scheme will not include the universal free school meals given out up to Y2.

For more info on the scheme, see the governments website here:

For those of us who don’t qualify for free school meals, there are loads of resources out there to bring down the cost of cooking for kids. Do a search online for ‘cheap meals for kids’, there will be recipes and videos with ideas and suggestions. Ask around to see how other parents are coping – maybe you could team up to share batch meals between you.

There will be family support available at community centres and at the local council and if you’re renting from the council or a housing association, society or charity, they might well have help available.

You don’t need to start foraging or poaching but you may need to start asking for help. It’s worth doing a search on Facebook for local support that is springing up – type your town or village into the search bar. Look through the other food related questions here too, to see if they inspire you with some ideas.

Updated 06/04/2020