Sheffield parents still struggling to access holiday free school meals as half-term week draws to a close
Parents have warned they are still having problems with the link that Sheffield families were told to use to access free school meals vouchers during half-term.
Sheffield Council sent out letters to families across the city earlier this week to inform them they could access free school meal vouchers during the October half-term, but the alarm was raised by parents who found the codes to access vouchers did not work.
On the council’s webpage for free school meals, it says: “If anyone is having difficulty in accessing the Edenred website to redeem a Free School Meal voucher, please use the following link as an alternative.
“If you need further assistance please contact our customer service team on 0114 273 4567 for support.”
The link it said does work is: https://www.selectyourcompliment.co.uk/grocery
Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said: “I’m bitterly disappointed that a week on after the announcement, parents are struggling to access this. The holidays are now over and parents are still waiting for this support to come through. It’s really poor form for Sheffield and I hope elsewhere has done it better. I really hope lessons are learned here.”
Council leader Julie Dore said earlier this week: “Our teams have been working hard to get our offer of free school meal vouchers to parents as soon as possible. But sending out and sourcing 22,000 vouchers is in fact a huge logistical undertaking. Letters are being posted out to families today so they should receive them shortly. The vouchers will be available for parents to use in supermarkets this week and after half term. This is later than we would have liked however, it goes some way to supporting families in need in lieu of Government support.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to guarantee that if the Government do not respond to the national outcry and fund free school meals in the Christmas holidays the council will step in and fund those weeks too.”
Last week the Conservatives voted down a Labour motion to extend the free school meals scheme to provide food for vulnerable children in holidays up to Easter 2021.
Despite this, Sheffield Council said it would provide the scheme anyway.
There is a community helpline offering support during the pandemic. Call 0114 273 4562 or visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/coronavirus.