If you are a Southampton resident currently struggling and have children who live with you, you may be able to access additional support through the food voucher scheme.

Families who currently qualify for free school meals (this does not include the universal free school meal offer for everyone in Years R,1 and 2) will be provided with this support by their child’s early years setting, school or college. Children who live in Southampton but go to a school or setting outside of Southampton will be able to access the scheme through their own school.

If your child is under 18, does NOT have a school or education place, and is not in employment or training, you may qualify for support directly from Southampton City Council. This includes children who are electively home educated, as long as they began home education before 1 December 2020.

In Southampton, we have decided to work in partnership with Edenred to ensure that families get swift access to food vouchers. These vouchers will be electronic and will be worth £10 per child, per week of the school holidays. Families will be able to spend these vouchers at most supermarkets.


The council would like to provide food vouchers for the holiday period to those families who would otherwise qualify for free school meals under the current national scheme, but whose children are not in education, training or employment OR do not have a school place.

This process will follow the same qualifying criteria as if your child was in a mainstream school, and requires two criteria to be met:

Criteria one

One or more parent/s must be a Southampton resident and in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Criteria two

The child must live with you, AND be:

  • Aged 16 and 17 and currently not in education, employment or training (including those up to 25 years old with an Education Health and Care Plan)
  • Of school age and reported with Southampton City Council as electively home educated before 1 December 2020
  • Of school age, but currently without a school place

If you feel that your family meets both criteria, please complete the online referral form.

To complete a request you will need to provide:

  • Your own name and date of birth
  • Contact details
  • National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers’ Number
  • Child's name and date of birth
  • School your child is attending/ will attend

Apply for food vouchers

The deadline for requests has now passed. This will reopen before May half-term. If you do not have an email address or are not able to access this online feature, you may ask a friend to do this on your behalf. Or visit the Citizens Advice Bureau and an officer will be able to assist you.

In order for us to check your eligibility, Southampton City Council will use all data sources currently available.

Once this has been successfully carried out parents will receive an email directly from Edenred with access to their voucher/s. If we are unable to validate your request, you will receive an email from Southampton City Council with details of sources of additional support.

All requests received by Southampton City Council before 4pm will be processed the next working day.

Unfortunately any submission after this date will not be processed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the decision regarding the funding spend?

The government have given each council the discretion to allocate funding as appropriate to meet our local needs. At least 80% of the funding will be ring fenced to provide support for food and for families with children. This will be largely rolled out over the school holidays through our education settings

Our aim is to support those most at need and families we are aware are on low income, including those who are eligible for Free School Meals

Do I need to apply for the funding?

No. If you are a family who has a child at either an early years provision, a Southampton school or college and you are eligible for Free School Meals, you will automatically qualify and will be contacted your school. If you are unsure, please speak to your school direct.

What if my family’s situation changes?

Eligibility will be reviewed and taken into account before each of the school holidays.

Will this support carry on for the rest of 2021?

We are unsure of this at present as the current scheme is only funded until the May Half Term holiday. If things change, we will update the website accordingly.

How much will the food vouchers be?

For all those who are eligible, you will receive £10 per week, per child for each week of the school holidays. This will be in the form of an electronic voucher that you will be able to use at a number of supermarkets.

Can I request a second food voucher?

Unfortunately, we are only able to fund one voucher per child for each of the weeks of the school holidays.

How often will I be able to get a food voucher?

Each eligible child will receive a voucher for £10 for each week of the school holidays (Christmas, February half term, Easter and May).

What if my child isn’t at school?

If your child is under 18, does not have a school place or is not in education, training or employment, you may be eligible to request support. To apply for support, please submit a request to the online referral form above. 

What happens if I don’t qualify?

I’m afraid if you don’t qualify, we will be unable to offer any support through the food vouchers scheme. However, if you are struggling and feel you need some support, please contact our COVID-19 resident's helpline on 023 8083 4800. This is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm for practical support and information, or, you can fill in the online form. If you live outside of Southampton, you can contact Hantshelp4vulnerable on 0333 370 4000.

When will I get my vouchers?

These will be allocated by schools. We will be aiming for this to be made available the week before the end of term.