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Half a million pounds worth of supermarket vouchers to help families buy food over the Easter holidays

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Nearly half a million pounds worth of supermarket vouchers have been sent to families across Devon ahead of the upcoming Easter school break as Devon County Council continues work to combat holiday hunger.

Families of more than 16,000 pupils currently receiving free school meals have automatically been sent the vouchers to help them buy food over two week holiday to replace the meals their child would have received at school during term-time.

The vouchers – worth £30 (£15 per week for each child) – can be redeemed in major supermarkets across Devon. Arrangements are in place for families who cannot get to a supermarket.

It’s part of a multi-million pound programme organised by Devon County Council to combat holiday hunger, with vouchers also previously issued for the Christmas and February half term breaks.

The latest statistics show that 16,00 children in Devon are registered for free school meals – 16 per cent of the total school population and 4,000 more children than this time last year.

Simon Kitchen, Devon County Council’s Head of Communities, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on families, particularly financially with many parents and carers seeing their income change overnight.

“We are committed to supporting people in Devon experiencing hardship, and these vouchers will help ease the strain of buying extra food over the Easter school holiday to replace the free school meals their children receive during term time.

“I encourage anyone who is struggling to get in touch, support is available.”

Some vouchers from February half term remain unspent. Families are urged to check their vouchers and redeem them as soon as possible before they expire and get in touch with Devon County Council’s free school meals team if you were expecting to receive a voucher but didn’t. Please email or call 0345 155 1019.

If you didn’t previously qualify for free school meals but your income has recently reduced or stopped, please apply online through the Devon County Council website to check if you are eligible for this support as soon as possible.

The quickest and easiest way for your eligibility to be assessed is through the Devon County Council website and you will get an instant decision. Alternatively, contact Devon County Council’s education helpline on 0345 155 1019.

More information about the free school meals holiday voucher scheme is available on Devon County Council’s website.