What support is available to families over the summer period?
This year the government is not directly funding free school meal vouchers or food packages. It has said it will run the holiday activities and food programme. The scheme is funded by the government and implemented by local councils. It consists of providing a host of activities and healthy food to children who are eligible for free school meals during term time. It runs for four weeks during the summer holidays.
Many councils have also launched school meal schemes throughout the summer holidays using the Household Support Fund. This is a grant of £500 million distributed between local authorities to help households who need it most. However whether or not the fund is used to provide free meals to children in the summer holidays is at your local council’s discretion so may vary in different areas.
If you are eligible for benefits in Scotland you will be able to get free school meals support from your local council.
The amount of funds you will be eligible for will depend on where you live.
Low income families may also be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment. This is four payments of £130 made at Easter, Summer, October and Christmas.
The Welsh Government has vowed to provide free school meals during the Easter and Summer holidays and have invested £21.4m into the project.
Councils in Wales will provide low-income families with meal vouchers, money or packed lunches to cover the full period of the summer holidays.
The Department of Education in Northern Ireland has also pledged a sum of money dedicated to supporting low income families feed their children over the summer holidays.
The grant will run from July 1 to August 31, 2022. Low-income families will receive £13.50 a week, which will automatically be paid into bank accounts in two installments.