Mid Sussex Support for Families during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Free School Meals:


  • The eligibility criteria for a child to be entitled to a free school meal or free school meal voucher are set out nationally in https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals
  • Schools hold lists of identified children within their school of those who are eligible and will have access to vouchers through nominated contractors to provide lunches for any child. Schools access vouchers (normally electronically) for each eligible child on their list directly from the nominated contractors providing FSM vouchers, they are not issued by Government or WSCC to individual schools.


Free School Meal Vouchers


Redeeming Vouchers



National Lockdown 3 - Term Time from 18th January (National Government Scheme)



Other support available

Apart from the FSM Vouchers other support is available for families who are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic. This includes support with fuel or utility bills, council tax and rent as well as food.



To support residents who are facing fuel hardship this winter, the DWP Covid Winter Grant Scheme has been launched by Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) and Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice in partnership with the County Council.

What can it do It can help with paying for gas, electric and water bills, boiler repairs, purchasing blankets, slow cookers, heaters. Other help may also be available such as mobile phone top ups, energy advice, benefit checks referrals for specialist debt advice.

Examples of who could be eligible:


  • Families who have had to claim Universal Credit and don’t have significant savings
  • Families on Universal Credit, home schooling and worried about heating their home
  • Families in debt and struggling to pay their gas or other bills
  • Care leavers on a low income
  • People with disabilities who are worried about putting their heating on.


The government announced that the Holiday Activities and Food programme will expand in 2021. Disadvantaged children in England will be offered free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays next year. Local authorities will receive separate funding to co-ordinate delivery. Some may co-ordinate it themselves, and others may choose to work with another organisation to co-ordinate provision on their behalf. The programme will make free places available to children who are eligible for free school meals for a minimum of 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 6 weeks a year. This would cover 4 weeks in the summer, and a week’s worth of provision in each of the Easter and Christmas holidays. Funding to local authorities would reflect the participation rate among eligible children, based on what we have seen in the pilot stage of this programme. We will work with local authorities over the coming months and will put in place additional measures to support them, including guidance and best practice based on our pilot phase.