Meal Time Image by Flora AdobeStock_205292863

Bedford Borough children from families that receive income-related free school meals are again eligible for a £15 voucher per week each, a total of £30 for the Easter break.

The one-off funding for the scheme comes from the Department of Work and Pensions’ winter hardship support. Bedford Borough Council has received an additional £167,672 from the fund, much of which will be used to provide free school meal vouchers during Easter.

The free school meals food vouchers scheme is part of the package of support launched by Bedford Borough Council and voluntary sector partners earlier in the school year for families and households.

Bedford Borough Council said it has already provided £337,290 worth of vouchers (over Christmas and February half term) directly issued to parents of 6,609 eligible children and young people to help with the cost of shopping for food. Each voucher is redeemable from a range of local retailers.

Cllr Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance, said:

“I am delighted that we’ve been able to extend this scheme to cover the Easter holiday. A year into the pandemic, many families continue to struggle and I hope that by issuing these vouchers, families can focus on enjoying the break, rather than worrying about where their children’s next meal is coming from during this challenging period.”

Children are eligible for the vouchers if their family receives one of the benefits listed below:

  • Universal Credit – with an annual earned income of no more than £7,400 after tax
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Child Tax Credit (with no Working Tax Credit) with an annual gross income of no more than £16,190

The Council and Bedford Borough schools are encouraging more families to register and apply for free school meals, so that they begin to receive the support they need.

To find out if you are eligible and to register for free school meals visit Free School Meals.