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Free school meal vouchers extended over summer

The Government is planning to extend its Free School Meal Voucher Scheme to help eligible families during the school holiday this summer.

The scheme was introduced in April to help parents provide meals for their children when schools were closed due to the global pandemic.

Although restrictions have since been lifted and the vast majority of children are back in full-time education, the Isle of Man Government, subject to Tynwald approval, will extend the scheme to those eligible until 5 September 2020.

Dr Alex Allinson, Minister for the Department of Education, Sport and Culture said: ‘We understand that many families are facing an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer holidays due to the global health emergency. To reflect this, we want to extend this important scheme to help ease the financial pressure many are facing.’

The scheme will not continue beyond the summer and only those who already qualify for free school meals on the Isle of Man will be eligible.

When schools closed to most pupils on 23 March the Isle of Man Government remained committed to providing free school meals to all eligible children. Due to self-isolation and travel restrictions a voucher scheme was quickly developed to help families buy groceries.

The six-week extension will mean eligible parents continue to receive a fortnightly voucher - equivalent in value to 10 free school meals. The value of the vouchers will be £23.00 for each primary school child and £29.00 for each secondary school child.

They can be used at approved food retailers and as before can only be used to buy groceries, excluding alcohol, lottery tickets, tobacco and non-food products. The vouchers will expire at the end of each fortnightly period and are not valid for in-store concessions.

The scheme is only available to parents of children eligible for free school meals.

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