Free school meals holiday award

More information about the School Holiday Food Awards (previously automated Supermarket vouchers) for low income families in receipt of free school meals (FSMs) or Council Tax Support (CTS).

About the scheme

Back to top

Running the school holiday award scheme

The school holiday awards are part of the Household Support Fund which will continue until March 2023 when the current funding ends. Eligible families in receipt of free school meals will receive an email direct from the school with the link to apply online.

How much you will get

Eligible families in receipt of free school meals will receive the following:

  • £15 per week per child for October (1 week) and Easter (2 week) Trafford school holidays.
  • £30 per week per child for Christmas (2 week) and February (1 week ) Trafford school holidays.

When you can apply

The application window will be open for two weeks prior to the school holidays starting as follows:

info
Application opens Application closes 
 Tuesday 11 October 2022  Monday 24 October 2022
 Tuesday 6 December 2022  Monday 19 December 2022
 Tuesday 31 January 2023  Monday 13 February 2023
 Tuesday 21 March 2023  Monday 3 April 2023

How you will be paid

We will usually make the payment into your bank account. This means you can pay for your goods using your debit card or mobile payment apps.

It will take three working days from when your application is made for the payment to appear in your bank account.

Bank holidays that fall on a weekday are not working days.

If you do not have a bank account, you can request a voucher instead. We aim to process your application within one working day of receipt of your application.

Collecting information

The Council needs to collect your personal information, including your bank details, in order to be able to pay you the award. This will be required every school holiday

Receiving a supermarket voucher by email if you live in Trafford

If you live in Trafford you will need to complete an online form to receive a payment directly in to your bank account. You will receive an email from your school with the application link attached. Please also check your junk/spam mail.

Receiving a supermarket voucher by email if your child attends a Trafford school but you do not live in Trafford

If you do not live in Trafford you will be automatically sent a voucher directly from you childs school.  Please wait for the voucher you do not need to complete the online application. Contact your child's school if you do not receive the voucher.

Changing to a bank account payment scheme from the supermarket voucher scheme

The change is because the latest research into poverty has revealed that cash, instead of a voucher payment, is the most effective way to reduce poverty. 

 

About the application form

Back to top

What to do if you have not received the link to the form from school but your child gets free school meals

First check your junk/spam mail. If it is not there email traffordassist@trafford.gov.uk and the link will be sent to you.

Receiving the money in your bank

It takes three working days from the award date to be processed through the banking system (BACS). Bank holidays that fall on a week day are not counted as a working day. 

Swapping a voucher for cash payment

No, the payment option selected on the form cannot be changed. 

Receiving a voucher because you do not have a bank account

Yes you can but you will still need to apply online and can select voucher on the application form.

Getting help to complete the application form

A friend or family member may be able to help you complete the form. If not, you can visit your local library who will set you up on a computer and assist you. You will need to take the link to the application along with your personal details including national insurance number to complete the form.

 

About your child 

Back to top

Your child goes to school outside Trafford

If your child's school is outside Trafford, their Free School Meal holiday awards will be dealt with by the local authority the school is in. Go to GOV.UK and enter the postcode of the school your child attends to find out how to get them. 

Completing the form when your children attend different schools

You will only be able to submit one form. You will need to add all your children in your household to the one form, including children under school age and children up to the age of 18 who you receive child benefit for.

Entitlement when your child is under school age

You may be entitled if you are in receipt of Council Tax Support or your child receives free school meals from a nursery. The application process includes a cross check against eligible systems so if you think you may be entitled complete the form and you will be given an instant decision. 

Your child is entitled to free school meals but you have never applied for them

You can still recieve the reward. The system will automatically cross check your details against the free school meal eligibility checker to see if you meet the criteria. If you do, you will be given an instant decision.

 

Further support

Back to top

What to do when the application form says you do not qualify as your children are not on free school meals, but they are

Vouchers will be automatically awarded to families who qualified previously but couldn't get an automatic award on the application link. Please check your email including spam / junk mail for your voucher before contacting us.

What to do when you have not received a voucher and the application form is saying you do not qualify

If you have been in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) since before 1 April 2018 and you have continued to receive free school meals, you may not be on the national register and therefore your application will say you are not eligible. Instead we will need to manually check your entitlement.

You need to email traffordassist@trafford.gov.uk quoting your application reference number, your name and address plus the full names and dates of birth of all children in your household. A check will then be made with the DWP on your UC start date and Trafford's free school meal register. You must do this within the application window and a voucher issued if you are eligible. We expect to respond to your email within 10 working days.

What to do when you emailed your details for a manual award, as the application said you were not eligible, and you still have not heard anything

Please check your emails to see if you have been awarded vouchers automatically. We are working through cases as quickly as we can. We expect to respond to your email within 10 working days. If you have not heard from us after this time, please email traffordassist@trafford.gov.uk adding a follow up email and the application reference in the subject box.

Requesting your vouchers change to a bank account payment when your application stated you were ineligible, you sent an email, and a manual check was completed and you have been awarded a voucher 

This can not happen. Payments can only be made into bank accounts where the details are completed on the application form. This is so the bank account can be verified. If you would prefer cash to a supermarket voucher. A Paypoint cash voucher can be issued which you can exchange at your local Paypoint outlet. Find your local paypoint store. Please state in your email if you would prefer a Paypoint voucher.

What to do when you have put the wrong details on the form and it says you are not eligible

Go back to the start of the application and check all the details you have input. Correct anything you have mistyped and continue. If the form states you are still not eligible and your child receives free school meals, you need to email traffordassist@trafford.gov.uk quoting your application reference number, your name and address plus the full names and dates of birth of all children in your household. A check will be made with the DWP on your UC start date and Trafford's free school meal register. We expect to respond to your email within 10 working days. 

How to apply when your child does not receive free school meals but you think you are entitled

You can apply for free school meals at any time of the year, for more information please visit free school meals (trafford.gov.uk)

Applying for help with other costs

You can apply for help towards your gas, electricity and water bills through the Household Support Fund. There are a maximum number of awards that can be granted in a 12 month period. If you have reached this and require further support please visit The Trafford Directory where you will find many useful services in Trafford.

If you require support completing the application form or for general information including benefits advice, legal, money, employment, housing and immigration you can contact the Citizens Advice Service

Support for other wider essentials, activities and services will be provided by the 6 Community Response Hubs that are hosted by voluntary sector organisations located across Trafford. They can by approached directly, please visit Response | Trafford Community Hubs (traffordhubs.org) and ask about the Household Support Grant.