Free School Meals Holiday Awards FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 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

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Will the Council be running the school holiday award scheme?

Yes the Council will be continuing the scheme at £15 per week per child in the May and summer holidays when the current funding will end but you must apply online.

Why do I need to apply?

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.

When can I apply?

The application window will be open for the May 2022 school holiday award from 16 May to 27 May.

Will I automatically receive a supermarket voucher by email if I live in Trafford?

If you live in Trafford you will no longer receive an email with a supermarket voucher automatically through the school – you will instead 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 link attached. Please also check your junk/spam mail.

Will I automatically receive a supermarket voucher by email if my child attends a Trafford school but I do not live in Trafford?

If you do not live in Trafford you will be automatically sent a voucher so please wait for the email from your school. Please wait for the voucher, you do not need to complete the online application.

Why has the Council changed the scheme from the supermarket voucher scheme to a bank account payment?

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. You can read more about this decision.


About the application form

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I haven’t received the link to the form from school but my child gets free school meals. What shall I do?

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

When will I receive the money in my bank account?

It takes 3 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. 

I requested a voucher but would like to swap it for a cash payment. Is this possible? 

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

I don’t have a bank account, can I receive a voucher instead?

Yes you can but you will still need to apply online. 

I need help completing the application form, what shall I do? 

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 

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What if my 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. 

My children attend different schools, do I need to complete a separate form for each child?

No, 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.

My child is under school age, am I entitled? 

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. 

My child is entitled to Free School Meals but I have never applied for them, can I still receive an award? 

Yes. 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

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The application form is saying that I do not qualify as my children are not on free school meals, but they are what do I need to do? 

For the May holidays, vouchers will be automatically awarded from 11 May onwards to families who qualified in the Easter half term but couldn't get an automatic award on the application link. Please check your email including spam / junk mail before contacting us.

I have not received a voucher and the application form is saying I do not qualify, what should I do? 

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 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.

I sent an email with my details for a manual award as the application said I was not eligible. I have not heard anything yet, what should I do?

Please check your emails from 10 May 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 adding follow up email and the application reference in the subject box.

My application stated I was ineligible, I sent an email and a manual check has been completed and I have been awarded a voucher. Can I request the payment is made into my bank account instead?

No. 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.

I have put the wrong details on the form and it says I am not eligible, what can I do? 

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 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.

Can I apply for help with other costs? 

Yes. You can apply for help towards your gas, electricity and water bills through the Household Support Fund.   

Support for other wider essentials will be provided by the 6 Community Response Hubs that are hosted by voluntary sector organisations located across Trafford. They can by approached directly, contact your nearest hub and ask about the Household Support Grant.

Families who are risk of eviction due to rent arrears can seek advice from the Council’s Housing Options Service Trafford (HOST). HOST have established a fund to support families in this situation. For more information, please contact HOST on 0161 912 2230 or email