National Voucher Scheme
The government have (finally) launched the national voucher scheme which will be available from 18th January. They have been forced into this U-Turn following the disgraceful images on social media of the completely inadequate food hampers previously delivered by national private contractors.
The government have said that vouchers will only be available through the national voucher scheme from the week commencing 18 January, however, any support provided since 4 January 2021 through lunch parcels or locally arranged vouchers can be claimed back by schools from the Department of Education.
Schools can use their Free School Meal authorisation lists to check on eligibility of pupils.
Local Voucher Scheme
To support schools in delivering this objective in relation to the first 2 weeks of term, the Council are launching a city-wide voucher scheme where schools can order vouchers for children within their schools. Schools that are not part of current city-wide catering contact can also choose to join the voucher scheme. As the Council have already set up an account with Edenred regarding the Winter Grant scheme for the Christmas and February half term holiday periods, it is expected e-codes will be sent to schools quickly.
Commenting on this Labour Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said:
“The government have let thousands of Sheffield families down and it isn’t good enough. I’m glad they’ve been forced into this U-Turn and we are working hard with schools to ensure families get the support they need.
“This new approach will now reflect the one we previously adopted locally – when we acted to ensure the council provided free-school-meals to children over half -term, when the government shamefully refused to do so.
“Families receiving vouchers will be able to choose from a choice of supermarkets, to download their voucher and use it at their convenience”.