Published 15th January 2021

To support local schools and local families through the initial period of the latest national lockdown Southend Council has funded vouchers totalling £190,000 for free school meals over the last two weeks.

In addition, the council will fund free schools meals through the February half-term via the winter COVID grant scheme funded by the Government as announced before Christmas.

Labour’s Anne Jones, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, says: “With the uncertainty surrounding return to schools before Christmas, the council took the initiative and committed to support schools and families by funding free schools meals for the first two weeks of term.  We also took the right decision to use Wonde, a well-established company that runs a simple supermarket voucher scheme. This action has been welcomed by schools and local people and I am very pleased we have delivered on that over these past two weeks.”

“We will be also be providing support for free schools meals during February half-term through the Government funding made available in December. Residents won’t need to do anything – schools will again be reaching out to those families and households who are currently already being supported. In addition to this, we also have our essential living fund in place that provides further support across the county.”

The Council will be working directly with schools to issue free school meals vouchers for the February half term and Easter breaks. If you want to know if you’re eligible for free school meals, please visit the council website.

To find out what other support is available please visit the Coronavirus page which has information on the current restrictions, advice on isolation, financial support schemes, business support, getting tested, information for carers, and more. You can also call the Council’s Coronavirus helpline on 01702 212497 or email

Southend’s Labour-led council has also provided the Southend Emergency Fund with £25,000 of its own funding and a further £39,000 from its government winter COVID grant – the fund has grants of up to £3,000 to give out to organisations working with clinically extremely vulnerable people and vulnerable families. If you run an organisation and would like more information or an application form please visit the Southend Emergency Fund website. So far the Southend Emergency Fund has awarded 66 grants totalling over £100,000.

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