FAQs: Your questions answered about free school meal vouchers

Families in Stockport, who qualify for Free School Meals, will receive a £20 voucher per eligible child this month

Stockport Council has announced it will once again be issuing vouchers to families eligible for benefit related free school meals who attend schools in the borough.

Eligible families do not need to apply as the Council is working with Stockport schools and colleges to identify the vulnerable families in need of support and will issue vouchers directly.

The vouchers will be sent directly to families in the coming weeks via email.

Those families without email access will receive their vouchers by post.

The vouchers will be issued using the PayPoint system, which can be redeemed at local stores and in major supermarkets supporting PayPoint, and can be used for food, fuel and other winter essentials..

The value of vouchers will be £20 per eligible child.

The additional £5 per eligible child reflects the current national lockdown and the increased costs such as household fuel and heating. This additional funding has been made possible by the generosity of our communities through Stockport County Football Club’s Christmas fundraising.

__Frequently Asked Questions __

*My child receives universal Free School Meals. Will I get a voucher over February half term? *

Not necessarily. If your child receives universal Free School Meals (FSM), (Reception, year 1 and year 2) but you are also eligible for benefit related FSM and you have completed the benefit related FSM application process, then you should receive a voucher. If you’ve not completed the benefit related FSM application process, you will need to do this before receiving a voucher. This link also provides information on eligibility criteria. If you need help getting online, please contact the DigiKnow Helpline on 07537 127095.

If I have a query over the holidays who do I need to contact?

You can contact the Council’s Coronavirus Welfare Line on 0161 217 6046. The Welfare Line is open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Friday from 9am to 4:30pm.

My email address isn’t up to date and the school is closed. What do I need to do to get the voucher?

Please contact the Council’s Coronavirus Welfare Line on 0161 217 6046. You will still need to contact your school after the holidays to amend their records.

I’ve not received my email, what should I do?

If you have not received your email, please check your junk inbox folder. Alternatively, check any other email accounts that you have. The voucher will be sent to the primary email address that the council holds for you. This could be the email address you used during the school admissions process and/or used to apply for benefits related Free School Meals (FSM). The voucher will come from PayPoint, not Stockport Council. If you still cannot find your email, contact the Council’s Coronavirus Welfare Line on 0161 217 6046.

I haven’t got an email, what should I do?

Where the Council does not hold an e-mail address for a child in receipt of FSM, we have posted supermarket vouchers to the home address held in our systems. If you haven’t received your voucher via the post, please contact the Council’s Coronavirus Welfare Line on 0161 217 6046.

How much is the voucher for?

You will receive a voucher for £20 per eligible child i.e. for each child receiving benefit related Free School Meals (FSM). This includes the £15 per week allocation plus an additional £5 to reflect the current national lockdown and the increased costs such as household fuel and heating as a result.

What can the voucher be used for?

The voucher can be used to purchase food, utilities (fuel, water and sewerage) and other winter essentials including hygiene products, warm clothing, and blankets.

How can the voucher be redeemed?

The voucher will be emailed to you from Pay Point. This will be sent to the primary email that the council holds for you. Within the email from Pay Point, there will be a barcode. Either print or present your voucher at one of the Pay Point outlets across the borough. The cashier will then provide the appropriate cash value.

Where can the voucher be redeemed?

A list of outlets can be found on the PayPoint website. It is recommended that PayPoint vouchers are redeemed at larger stores or outlets linked to a Post Office where possible to ensure funds are available.

When can the voucher be redeemed?

Your voucher will be valid from the time you receive the email. Please note that the vouchers must be redeemed within 21 days from the date of the email.

I am struggling to redeem my vouchers, what can I do?

Please contact the Council’s Coronavirus Welfare Line on 0161 217 6046.

What happens if I do not redeem my voucher?

Failure to redeem the voucher within the 21-day period will result in the voucher becoming invalid.

*Why have I received an Aldi voucher and not a voucher via Pay Point? *

Aldi vouchers have been sent to all eligible households where the Council does not hold a valid email address.

I am not eligible for Free School Meals. Is there any support available for me?

If you are a Stockport resident, you can apply to Support Funds for support. This could include help with accessing food; sourcing items you might need for your home; help with secondary school uniform; gas and electricity top up for prepaid meters; help paying your Council Tax; help with a shortfall in rent; or help to apply to a charity or trust fund. For more information, visit our Financial Support in a Crisis pages