Winter grant food vouchers

Thousands of Bolton families are due to receive financial help this Winter for food and other essential items.

Bolton will receive Winter Support Grant payments worth over £1.1million from the government to support residents over the Christmas and Winter period. This will include families with children who would normally receive Free School Meals and families with pre-school age children who would meet the qualifying conditions for Free School Meals.

Food vouchers will be distributed to support over 14,000 children and young people over the Christmas holidays and February half term. The council will be working closely with Bolton schools to issue vouchers directly to eligible families and the council will be distributing food vouchers to families with eligible children aged 0 to 5 years.

Distribution of vouchers will also be distributed by Bolton’s Start Well Centres for children aged 2 years to ensure that families are claiming free childcare and are aware of all the support available.

The Winter Support Grant will also be used to provide support to care leavers and to increase the offer of support available through the council’s Local Welfare Provision Scheme (LWP). The LWP scheme will provide a minimum of 4 food parcels and £100 towards fuel costs to qualifying residents.

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply for this support?

You do not need to apply for this support. We have already identified the families who are eligible and if you are eligible, you will be contacted directly.

Who is eligible for this support?

Families with children who are entitled to income based free school meals.

Families on low incomes with pre-school children using free school meal eligibility criteria.

The offer is not available to children on universal free school meals unless they have an underlying entitlement to income based free school meals. You will need to be in receipt of one of these benefits:

  • 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 guaranteed 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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

18 and up to 25 are also entitled to this support which is not means tested.

How much am I entitled to?

You will receive a payment of £20 per week per child over Christmas. This will be repeated in the February 2021 half term.

How will I be paid?

Bolton schools have issued food vouchers for children on their school roll who are eligible for income based Free School Meals.

Bolton Council has issued food vouchers for those families on low income with pre-school children by post.

When will I receive this support?

We are aiming to get this support out for children and young people over the Christmas holidays and February 2021 half term.

Can I choose which supermarket I use?

If you have received a notification from your child’s school by text message or email about the voucher, you will have a choice of supermarkets to select from before you download your voucher.

If you receive a voucher in the post, the supermarket will have already been selected and will be an Aldi voucher

I don’t want the Aldi vouchers I have received in the post, can I swop them for another store?

Unfortunately, this is not possible.

If I send them back to you can you give me the money or a cheque instead?

No, the vouchers can't be exchanged for cash or a cheque. 

When does my voucher expire?

The schoolvouchers.com website has details of when vouchers expire:

Please download your voucher if you intend to use it. Any vouchers that haven’t been downloaded by 25 January 2021 will be reassigned before payments are made for the February half term.

How do I access my vouchers?

The schoolvouchers.com website has a step by step guide to accessing your vouchers

Please download your voucher if you intend to use it. Any vouchers that haven’t been downloaded by 25 January 2021 will be reassigned before payments are made for the February half term.

I don’t want the voucher, what do I do?

If you have received a voucher in the post, please return it to the council and we will ensure this is used by a family in need.

If you do not redeem your online voucher by 25 January 2021, you do not need to do anything as your unused voucher will be reassigned to another family

Will the vouchers have my name on them?

No

I have received the letter but no vouchers are included

The vouchers were included with all the letters issued by post. Unfortunately, we cannot re-issue them.

I have received the letter but have not received the number of vouchers I was expecting

Vouchers have been issued by schools to all the eligible children on the school roll.

Further education establishments have issued direct payment to their eligible students and the council has issued a letter in the post with Aldi vouchers

This means that funding for your child or young person may be received in different ways so may not all be included via one method.

If this goes on will you be sending more vouchers out?

We are looking to repeat this offer in the February 2021 half term.

I live in Manchester but my child goes to school in Bolton and is entitled to free school meals, will I get the vouchers?

Yes, the vouchers are available for children and young people who attend schools and further education establishments in Bolton

I live in Bolton and my child goes to school in another borough and is entitled to free school meals, will I get the vouchers?

We have an informal arrangement with many other local authorities to cover the cost Bolton children and young people attending schools in their boroughs and we will do the same for their children attending schools in Bolton.

However, let us know if you live in Bolton and your child is entitled to free school meals, attends an out of borough school and you do not receive food voucher support and we will check the situation out for you.

We do not want children to lose out on this much needed support.

I’m not happy, can I appeal the decision not to award a food voucher?

Unfortunately, there is no formal right of appeal against the council’s decision to issue a food voucher.