Free school meal holiday support for families


Released: 15 October 2021

The 16,000 children who receive free school meals in West Sussex will again be supported with food vouchers this October half-term.

West Sussex County Council is operating a similar scheme which has seen eligible families provided with supermarket food vouchers over each of the school holidays for the last 12 months, including over the summer.

In recognition of how financially challenging recent months have been for families across West Sussex, the County Council has increased the value of the vouchers from £15 to £20 per eligible child (benefits-related) for the week.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning, said: “The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a hugely negative impact on many families so we are very glad to be able to support those most in need in this way. The local voucher scheme has been a huge success, helping around 16,000 children over the school holidays in what has been an extremely tough time.

“This is part of a significant package of ongoing, multi-agency support for individuals and families across West Sussex who continue to be affected by Covid-19.”

This Christmas will also see the return of the popular Holiday Activity & Food programme in West Sussex. Following its success over the summer, the County Council will be working with organisations so children eligible for free school meals can attend a holiday club or activity and have a hot meal during the break at no expense. Expressions of interests from providers are open until 17 October 2021, find out more on our HAF website.

The West Sussex Community Hub has been operating throughout the pandemic and continues to provide food and essentials for those who need them. This includes support for children and families that are not eligible for Free School Meals.

The Community Hub can be contacted on 0330 222 7980 and is open 8am – 8pm from Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm at weekends and bank holidays.

West Sussex County Council is providing the vouchers through schools with money from the Government’s new Household Support Fund. This has replaced the former Winter Support Grant Scheme and then the COVID Local Support Grant, some of which was used to fund the previous local voucher schemes.

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