Free school meal vouchers Easter 2022 Bristol: How to get them, how much they are worth and where they can be spent

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The scheme was controverially scrapped by Bristol City Council over Christmas

Bristol City Council is bringing back free school meal (FSM) vouchers this Easter to help families struggling to cope with the cost of living.

The scheme was controversially dropped by the public authority at Christmas, with bosses deciding to instead offer a package of support for low-income families, including those eligible for FSM.

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The support received some criticism from parents, some of whom had planned to receive the money only to find out they were not getting it. Parents were also unhappy that the vouchers were continued to be offered in other parts of the country.

But this week, Bristol City Council has told BristolWorld that the vouchers will return this Easter.

The spokesperson said: “We will be providing supermarket vouchers to children eligible for free school meals over the coming Easter holiday. The vouchers are valued at £15 per child per week, and they will be paid for by the Household Support Fund.”

The council is also offering a free, school holiday programme - details here.

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Who is eligible?

Parents that claim certain benefits are eligible for their children to receive free school meals.

The benefits include income support, income-based job seeker’s allowance and income-related employment and support allowance.

Those claiming Child Tax Credit can also get it if they have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as well as those on Universal Credit with a household income of less than £7,400 a year.

In January, Chris Pring, business manager at Cabot Primary School in St Paul’s, told a meeting of school leaders in the city that families were missing out because schools did not check eligibilty enough.

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How much can I claim?

Families in Bristol can claim vouchers worth £15 per child per week, which is slightly less than the £20 offered by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The city council spokesperson said the weekly figurewas identified by Central Government when vouchers were issued at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They are distributed by schools - so those who think they should have been contacted should get in touch with their children’s schools.

Where can I spend the voucher

You will be able to spend the free school meal vouchers at supermarkets including:

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  • Aldi
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Morrison’s
  • Marks and Spencer
  • John Lewis & Waitrose

When is the Easter break?

Schools will close for Easter on Monday 11 April and return on Monday 25 April, with Good Friday on 15 April and Easter Monday on 18 April.

How does the FSM voucher work?

Free school meal vouchers are typically issued by email or text, allowing parents to scan codes at the supermarket checkout.

ootballer Marcus Rashford campaigned for the funding to stay after the Government planned to scrap funding for free school meals in summer 2020.

The Government then left it to local councils to decide if they want to support free school meal vouchers after issuing £500 million through the Household Support Fund.

The Household Support Fund has given out various support including supermarket vouchers and free cash to help with bills since last October - with free school meal vouchers part of this scheme.

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