Surrey County Council has today announced it will fund one £15 food voucher per eligible child or young person, which can be used in supermarkets and some local shops over the October half-term period. These vouchers will be provided to families whose children are entitled to benefits-related Free School Meals via email or text and printed vouchers will be provided to parents who cannot access them online.
The national free school meals programme only covers term time provision, so Surrey County Council will fund these vouchers using part of its allocation from the Government’s Household Support Fund, which was launched in October to help local authorities support some of their most vulnerable households during the winter.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “School holidays can be difficult times for families who struggle financially, so I am delighted to announce that Surrey County Council will be providing food vouchers for some of our most vulnerable families during the upcoming October half-term holiday. Throughout the pandemic, we have offered food vouchers to families whose children are entitled to benefits-related Free School Meals during every school holiday and we are conscious that many families are still facing financial pressure, so we hope these vouchers will help to ease the strain as we enter the winter period.”
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.
Surrey County Council will announce proposed spending of the remainder of the Government’s Household Support Fund in due course.