Local authorities across England have issued free school meals vouchers to households with children to support parents throughout the Easter holidays in 2022.
The vouchers are being offered to families across England to be used in supermarkets.
The prices allocated to each voucher range from person to person, and depend on where you live. The prices range from £15 - £50.
They are designed to help cover the cost of living while your children are on the school term break.
So, which local authorities in Newcastle have these vouchers available - and who is eligible for them?
Here’s everything you need to know about the free school meal vouchers and how to apply.
What are the Free School Meal vouchers?
Free school meal vouchers differ depending on the council you are in, however, for the majority of places they are vouchers to be spent at the following stores and supermarkets throughout England:
- John Lewis
- Marks and Spencer
People are advised to contact their local authorities directly to find out more about where they can spend their vouchers.
Who is eligible?
Those who receive free school meals during term time will be eligible, and will receive the vouchers via their child’s school.
How to apply for Free School Meal vouchers for the Easter holidays?
No action is required in terms of an application for the vouchers, if your child is eligible for free school meals you will automatically be assigned vouchers.
Which council areas in Newcastle are offering the vouchers?
Newcastle City Council have offered this service in the past, however, it is unclear as to whether it is available throughout the spring holiday.
You can apply for Free School Meals on the Newcastle City Council website, or call for more information on 0191 278 3679.
NewcastleWorld spoke with Gateshead Council who confirmed they would be offering the vouchers.
The Council has issued Easter FSM vouchers for the Easter term at £15 per qualifying child/week – only those children qualifying for free school meals. The vouchers will cover the school holiday period from Monday 11th April 2022 to Sunday 24th April 2022 and should now be with families.
Schools were contacted and asked to identify qualifying children and claim the vouchers directly for distribution to their own families. These are usually dispatched by email or letter directly from Edenred. The vouchers can be redeemed in all mainstream supermarkets and other high street stores.
You can apply for Free School Meals for schools in the Gateshead authority on the Gateshead council website.
People in Gateshead must be in receipt of one of the following to be eligible for Free School Meals:
- Income Support
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA - IB)
- Guarantee Pension Credit
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA Income Related)
- Child Tax Credit - but not Working Tax Credit - and your income for Tax Credit purposes must be less than £16,190.00 (details are shown on your Tax Credit award notice)
- Working Tax Credit Run-on
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal Credit and your net earned family income is less than £7,400.
It is unclear if North Tyneside is offering the vouchers, they have done in the past for those who receive Free School Meals.
You can apply for Free School meals on the North Tyneside Council website, or applications can be taken over the telephone by calling (0191) 643 2288.
According to the North Tyneside council website you are eligible to apply if you receive any of the following:
- 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 (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Those in the Northumberland Council area, and receiving free school meals during term-time will receive £100 in vouchers to go towards food and fuel costs via the Government’s Household Support Fund.
Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “As in previous school holidays, this payment will once again be a vital lifeline to many of our families who may be struggling during these challenging times as the cost-of-living rises.
“Through the Government’s Household Support Fund and the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme run through Northumberland Communities Together, our children and young people will continue to have access to healthy food and enriching activities over the Easter break.”
The vouchers will have been distributed via schools, either through the local authority’s Huggg scheme or their school’s alternative voucher schemes. More information can be found on the Northumberland Government website.
For South Tyneside, children and young people who are eligible for benefit related free school meals or are in a family currently experiencing hardship attend free activity sessions throughout the 2022 Spring holidays.
All the events are subject to availability. However, each of the sessions will include:
- a variety of fun activities, including sports, games, dance, crafts and outdoor challenges
- fun problem-solving challenges
- exciting opportunities to learn and develop skills
- a nutritious meal each daySpaces must be booked in advance and information on booking can be found on the South Tyneside council website.