Parents encouraged to apply for free school meals

Published Wednesday, 8th April 2020

green apple and school books

Due to the current climate and changes to household income due to Coronavirus, some children may now be eligible for free school meals.

As personal circumstances change, parents are being encouraged to check whether they are eligible for additional support, which might include free school meal vouchers or food boxes while schools are closed due to the virus.

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “For some families, coronavirus has meant the loss of a job or a reduction in the amount of household income. We need to help these families as much as we can and those in receipt of the benefits outlined can get that help while the schools are closed and beyond. I would urge any families struggling, to check their eligibility and see if they are able to qualify for free school meals.”

This includes families who have not previously applied for free school meals status, as their children already have a free school meal provided to them while they are in KS1.

Are you currently receiving one of these benefits?

  • Universal Credit, with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Child Tax Credit (with no Working Tax Credit) with an annual income of no more than £16,190

If the answer is ‘yes’ and you do receive one of the benefits listed above, all you need to do is go to Southend Borough Council website to complete a short online form, which you can access at

We will perform a simple online check to confirm your eligibility. All information is kept confidential at all times. If you are eligible, and meet the criteria, you will be informed and your child’s school notified. Schools have chosen to distribute either vouchers or food parcels. You should contact your child’s school if you receive confirmation of eligibility and they will be able to share more information about what they offer.

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