Free school meal vouchers announced for Easter

Date published: 29 March 2021

Families whose children are eligible for free school meals, or are supported by children’s services, will receive vouchers to assist with the cost of food over the Easter holiday period.

£30 of Aldi vouchers, £15 for each holiday week, will be being posted out to families who are eligible, along with care leavers. In total £354,240 in vouchers will go to 6,940 families for 11,808 children across the borough. 

This latest announcement sees the total investment in free school meal support reach over £1.66m in the last year, made up of a mixture of council and government funding. The money has allowed the council to support families with vouchers at what has been a very difficult time, made more challenging when children are not in school. It has also allowed support to established food banks and the development of three new food clubs run through children’s centres.

Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Councillor Allen Brett, said: “We remain staunchly committed to supporting families with support to replace free school meals. Tackling food poverty is a key issue and we’re proud of our cooperative response to this across the borough.

“This is coupled with the expansion of our Fit and Feed programme throughout the Easter holidays and we’re already planning wider support in the summer through the Holiday Activities Fund. We know one size doesn’t fit all for families so we’ve created a variety of support packages.”

Families who are struggling to make ends meet can access the food clubs the council runs in partnership with charity Family Action. By paying an annual membership fee of just £1, families are able to buy £15 of food for only £3.50 and multiple purchases can be made to support larger families.

Early help teams also work with families in greatest need, to ensure that no one goes hungry. Since it opened in July 2020 over 300 people have registered with the food club and over 3,650 food parcels have been provided to support families with discounted food and 600 parcels have been free to those most in need. There is also no limit to the number of families that can join the food club, if it helps to reduce their food bills.

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for getting a good start, said: “I hope this reassures families that there is extra support coming this Easter. We understand that times are challenging and we hope that families can make use of the wide range of support packages we have put in place. It is all vital investment into giving young people the best possible start in life.”

Other additional support for families has also been provided. In December, £96,000 was invested into the voluntary sector through the Food Solutions Network. This helped purchase food for the Community Warehouse, provide winter care packages, cleaning packs, essential toiletries and nappies to support households in greatest need. The contract of support has just been announced for a further year.

Additional funding has been invested into the council’s Fit, Feed and Read programme which will enable it to now run in the Easter and summer holiday period. The council and Link4Life will be working alongside schools to provide holiday provision for vulnerable children. They will take part in activities throughout the week as well as receiving nutritious food throughout the day. The programme has been delivered across the borough since 2016.

If your circumstances have recently changed in these challenging times then you may be eligible for the free school meals benefit. To find out please visit

For any families that are struggling there is early help support available from the council.

For more information please visit or you can phone the early help team on 0300 303 8801 or email them at

The free school meal vouchers for Easter are being distributed directly from the council, there is no need to contact your child’s school about this.

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