COVID Summer Food Fund

Any child currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals or who becomes eligible during the summer term is eligible for the COVID Summer Food Fund. 

Parents whose children are already receiving free school meals will be contacted by their school and need take no further action. Any parent who has previously completed a Merton free school meals application but was not entitled at the time will not need to reapply.

The council is urging any parent who has not previously submitted a free school meal application to do so via the Merton Council link below. They will be advised if they are entitled and, if they are, their child's school will be able to arrange for them to receive their voucher. Children must be registered by 10 July, although it is understood schools will continue to accept and verify free school meal applications up until the end of the summer term.

www.merton.gov.uk/education-and-learning/schools/free-school-meals

Further background info:

The COVID Summer Food Fund will ensure eligible children registered for free school meals by 10 July can continue to access support over the summer holidays.

The Government has published guidance (available here) which states:

  • Schools can support eligible pupils with a £90 voucher to cover the 6-week holiday period (or a £105 voucher for a 7-week holiday period)
  • Any child currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals or who becomes eligible during the summer term is eligible for the Covid Summer Food Fund. Schools should check which pupils are eligible and in receipt of benefits-related free school meals before ordering vouchers through the Fund. Schools can continue to accept and verify free school meal applications up until the end of the summer term.
  • If schools have used the Edenred portal to order vouchers during term time, they should use the same Edenred account to order vouchers from the summer holidays. There is no separate portal for the Covid Summer Food Fund. 
  • If schools have made alternative arrangements, they can claim through the exceptional costs fund in the autumn, providing they have ordered their alternative supermarket vouchers one week before their school term ends.
  • Schools should order vouchers at least one week before their school term ends, and they will be issued to parents and carers within 7 days. For example, schools closing on 17 July must place orders for all vouchers by 10 July. If a school receives a claim for an eligible child in the week between the final ordering date and the start of the school’s summer holidays, it will be possible for the school to place an exceptional order for that child via the Edenred system.

The Government has temporarily extended free school meals eligibility to include some groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). Guidance on the temporary extension is available here.