As children begin their half-term holiday, a new scheme has been launched to support families who rely on free school meals.
Durham County Council has announced it will provide this vital support following the House of Commons vote against extending the national school meals scheme to cover school holidays.
From Monday 26 October 2020, parents and carers whose children are eligible for means-tested free school meals can apply for one £15 voucher per child on the council’s website at www.durham.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals.
After filling in a form, they will be sent a QR code, which can be redeemed at any PayPoint or Post Office and used to buy food and drink supplies. Residents can find their nearest PayPoint at www.paypoint.com/en-gb/consumers/store-locator or Post Office branch at www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder.
Anyone struggling to access the internet or does not have a device that supports the digital code can call the local authority’s County Durham Together community hub on 03000 260 260. Staff will be on hand from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, to help people with the forms or talk through other options.
The scheme will run throughout this week, but the council will ensure it is extended to cover the Christmas holidays if the Government’s position does not change.
Durham County Council supports a number of schemes across the county providing activities and food for children and young people during the holidays. To find out about activities taking place, visit www.countydurhamfamilies.info and search for VCS Alliance in the keywords box.