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Free school meal voucher scheme launched in Bristol

Main image: Local Knowle West schools have all been invited to join the scheme.

A new voucher scheme has just been launched in Bristol – to help thousands of pupils who receive free school meals get food during the coronavirus crisis.

Families will receive weekly vouchers of £15 to buy food for children from major retailers including Asda, Morrison’s and Tesco as well as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencers.

More than half of the city’s schools have already joined the scheme, which will see free school meal vouchers given to the families and carers of over 7,000 pupils.

All of Bristol’s schools have been invited to join the scheme – with the council contacting ones that haven’t responded to make sure they have free school meals provision in place.

Parents and carers will receive letters from their school this week letting them know how to download their vouchers, which will allow them to go online and select one of the retailers to shop with.

The voucher will be instantly sent to their email address, which can be downloaded to their smartphone or printed it out for use in their chosen store.

For families or carers without email addresses or smartphones – schools can print and distribute vouchers on their behalf, either by hand or tracked post.

They will first receive vouchers totalling £45, to cover the three weeks up to the end of the Easter holidays.

Cabinet member for Education and Skills, Councillor Anna Keen, said: “…More than 4,000 free school meal food parcels were delivered to schools last week and we salute the huge effort put in by schools, during what are unprecedented and challenging times, to ensure they were distributed to families in need.

“This new voucher service is a safer and more convenient way of meeting the needs of the families of pupils that are entitled to free school meals to access the food they need.’’

The council will review the scheme during the first three weeks – and be looking to accept new pupils who may qualify for free school meals due to their household’s changing financial situation.

For more information about the free school meals vouchers, you can watch the video from explaining how the scheme works here.