Bath & North East Somerset Council is once again providing supermarket vouchers to families whose children are eligible for free school meals over the upcoming school holidays.
Families who applied to receive vouchers from the council’s Christmas scheme will automatically receive a £20 voucher for the February half term.
From today (February 4) the council will send all previous voucher recipients an email asking them to confirm they would like a £20 voucher per child. Once confirmed, a further email will be sent containing the supermarket voucher codes.
New applications from families who haven’t claimed the vouchers before can be made online via this page.
Families who received the vouchers at Christmas should not reapply as it could cause a delay in them receiving their vouchers.
The electronic vouchers can be spent in a range of supermarkets and are available to the families of pupils entitled to benefit-related free school meals, as well as parents who receive free childcare for two-year-olds, where benefits are such that they would have been entitled to free school meals.
The scheme is part of a wide range of community support for vulnerable families including FOOD clubs, food banks, welfare and financial support.
Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “We are doing our utmost to ensure that no child in Bath and North East Somerset goes hungry, so I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to extend the voucher scheme to cover the February school holidays for families whose children are eligible for free school meals.
“If you received the vouchers at Christmas, you do not need to do anything – you will get an email from us to arrange to get your electronic vouchers to you. Please don’t apply again as that could mean your vouchers are delayed. However, if you think you’re eligible and haven’t previously applied, please do so via our website as soon as possible.”
The scheme is funded from the Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme. There are currently more than 4,000 children in Bath and North East Somerset who receive benefit-related free school meals.
3SG and St John’s Foundation have already allocated £55,000 from a local fundraising appeal to community-led food projects serving communities of high-need across Bath and North East Somerset.
There is also community support for families:
Anyone finding it hard to stay afloat on their food budget can contact their nearest FOOD Club or Pantry for an affordable way to supplement a weekly shop. Details can be found on the BANES Foodfinder at www.banesfoodfinder.org.uk/listing/food-clubs-pantries
Details of food banks across BANES are also on that link and they can tell you how to access a voucher to meet more urgent need.
Anyone in need of support around food, money, debt, mental health, housing or employment is encouraged to contact the Community Wellbeing Hub, by calling 0300 247 0050 or email at BATHNES.firstname.lastname@example.org, where you will be connected to a wide range of support under one roof.
Alternatively, the Welfare Support team can offer short-term, financial crisis support and are contactable on 01225 477 277 or email at email@example.com.
A searchable and comprehensive online listing of a wide range of community support across BANES can be found on the One Big Database at www.bathnes1bd.org.uk
Feeding Britain is an independent charity working towards the UK becoming hunger-free www.feedingbritain.org