Thousands of families to receive FREE £50 food vouchers within weeks – here’s the exact date you need to act

THOUSANDS of households can apply for free £50 food vouchers – find out if you’re eligible now.

The helping hand could be a lifeline for families suffering financial hardship amid soaring bills and a rising cost-of-living.

The helpful supermarket vouchers are being sent to families to help support children during the school summer holidays

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The helpful supermarket vouchers are being sent to families to help support children during the school summer holidaysCredit: Getty

It comes after an extension of the Household Support Fund, HSF, and is available to eligible applicants in Peterborough.

The helpful supermarket vouchers are being sent to families to help support children during the school summer holidays.  

The free school meals scheme not only helps families saving around £450 a year per child but also helps their child’s primary school receive much-needed additional funding

Councillor Katy Cole

They will be delivered electronically via text and email on Saturday July 20, based on data held by the council.

All coupons must be activated by midnight Sunday August 11 2024 – or they will be lost.

Eligible families with children and young people include those who receive:

  • Income-related Free School Meals (children and young people aged four to 16).
  • Early Years Pupil Premium under the income-based criteria.
  • Funded Childcare and Education for two-year-olds under the income-based criteria.

The scheme is accessible by an estimated 13,000 children and young people.

This could see more than £650,000 in vouchers handed out to eligible families in Peterborough.

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Residents have been urged to check whether they are entitled to free meals during term time as this could mean they’re likely to be accepted for these holiday coupons.

Councillor Katy Cole, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, said: “Once again I am delighted that we will be supporting vulnerable families by providing supermarket vouchers to help them with the costs of feeding their children during the school holidays.

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“These vital vouchers have helped thousands of families across the city and I would urge anyone who is eligible for the scheme but has not already signed up to please consider doing so.

“The free school meals scheme not only helps families saving around £450 a year per child but also helps their child’s primary school receive much-needed additional funding.”

It comes after thousands of households were supported by the same scheme in the Isle of Wight in May.

The grant saw a whopping £1.1million funnelled into the area, on top of £5.6million provided by the scheme already.

It offered struggling households two food vouchers worth £25 and a one-off £25 coupon for up to 10,000.

It also saw a helpful £130,000 go towards food banks across the island.

What is the Household Support Fund?

Households in need can claim support to help with the cost of living via the Household Support Fund.

The funding is supplied from a £421million pot by the Department for Work and Pensions.

It was first introduced in October 2021 and has been extended five times.

Councils up and down the country get a portion of the cash to allocate to vulnerable households.

For example, Medway Council in Kent, South-East England, is offering thousands of households supermarket vouchers worth up to £225.

Some could qualify for electronic energy cards or e-vouchers to cover water bills worth £100 too.

How has the Household Support Fund evolved?

THE Household Support Fund was first launched in October 2021 to help Brits pay their way through winter amid the cost of living crisis.

Councils up and down the country got a slice of the £500million funding available to dish out to Brits in need.

It was then extended for a second time in the 2022 Spring Budget and for a third time in October 2022 to help those on the lowest incomes with the rising cost of living.

The DWP then confirmed a fourth extension of the scheme through to March 31, 2024.

Chancellor Jeremey Hunt extended the HSF for the fifth time while delivering his Spring Budget on March 6, 2024.

Get in touch with your local council to see if you might be eligible for help.

You can find what council area you fall under by using the Government’s council locator tool on its website.

The help you can get varies depending on who your local council is, as well as your personal situation.

But you may be able to get free cash and vouchers to help pay for things like heating your home or to cover costs of your weekly grocery shop.

If an applicant is already receiving benefits, these will not be affected by the HSF.

And, you do not need to be getting benefits to receive vouchers or funds from the HSF.

Check with your local council to find out what support is available and the eligibility criteria.

How do I apply?

Once you’ve found your council, there should be information on how to apply for the funding on its website.

Each council will have a different application process – so exact details on how to apply will vary depending on where you live.

That means that the eligibility requirements to access the fund could also vary – it’s best to check with your local council for more details.

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Some councils won’t require you to apply for the help and they’ll contact you about it instead if you qualify.

If there’s no information on your council’s website, then its best to ring them up and ask for more information.

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