Salford families are receiving weekly shopping vouchers amid schools closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
These vouchers are for children who are eligible for free school meals to relieve financial pressure on parents to provide lunch and snacks.
With almost a quarter of secondary school pupils in Salford entitled to free lunches, the vouchers are vital for the community.
Natalie Bradbury, from Weaste, has two children ages 10 and 15 and said: “The vouchers are really helpful, especially because we are stuck in and the kids are eating a lot more.”
She has so far received an Aldi voucher worth £15 from her school, by meeting a school representative in Salford precinct, but has concerns about parents only being able to use them in-store.
She said: “I am very grateful for them but they are a bit of a pain, as you have to use them in-store and not online and I’m currently isolating due to health conditions.
“Lining up outside supermarkets for a long time is no good for me.”
As well as this, many leading supermarkets are encouraging shoppers to come individually and do not bring children where possible.
This poses an issue for single-parent families with limited childcare options in the pandemic.
Schools are now also emailing parents e-vouchers using the government National Voucher Scheme that started on March 31st, entitling families to a £15 e-voucher from Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose or M&S.
For those newly applying for free school meals, the government has confirmed they will still be entitled to vouchers.
According to their website: “Schools and local authorities should continue to accept free school meal applications.
“Parents should make contact with the school or local authority, who will verify eligibility and award free school meals.”
For parents with children under the age of 4 or for pregnant women, support is also on offer through the NHS healthy start scheme.
Heard about Healthy Start? You can get free weekly vouchers to spend on milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, infant formula milk and free vitamins.
— NHS Salford CCG (@SalfordCCG) March 31, 2020
If you receive benefits, this scheme offers free vouchers for essentials such as milk and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Visit: The Healthy Start website to find out if you’re eligible.