Parents across the UK have just one week left to register for free school meal vouchers this summer, the Department for Education (DfE) has warned.
Families and carers must submit their claims seven days before their child’s school closes for the six-week break.
And with most schools closing on the week of July 20, it means parents have just a week left to apply for the full £90 benefit.
The announcement comes as ministers were forced to making an embarrassing U-turn on free school meals, after a victory by footballer Marcus Rashford.
Through the free school meals Covid Summer Food Fund, around 1.3mllion children will qualify for a £90 voucher to cover the six-week break.
This is equivalent to £15 a week, THE DfE said.
If your child’s summer holiday lasts seven full weeks (instead of six), schools will be able to increase the voucher to £105.
Once parents or carers have received the voucher, they will be able to redeem it at any major UK supermarket – though Lidl and the Co-op are not on the scheme.
This will be in the form of an electronic gift card – anyone unable to do this will be able to pick up a hard copy from their child’s school.
The DfE said if you live in an area where your local supermarket is not supporting the scheme, you should get in touch with your school for alternative arrangements.
Is it too late to apply and who qualifies for free school meals?
Any child currently in receipt of free school meals will be eligible for the Covid Summer Food Fund. Universal Credit is one of the main qualifying terms – so if you have a child of school age, it’s worth checking if you can claim the support.
We’ve got a full guide on who qualifies for free school meals, here.
Where will I be able to spend the vouchers?
Through Edenred, you can access eGift cards for:
How can I spend them?
Once families have received their voucher, they will be able to redeem them in store by either: