There are some schemes in place to help children and families access food. Eligibility often depends on how much you earn and where you live.  

Free school meals  

In England and Scotland, all children in the first 3 years of primary school can receive Free School Meals regardless of family income. For older children and all children in Wales and Northern Ireland, eligibility for free school meals is dependent on family income.  

You can review the criteria for each location and click through to apply here:   

Free School Meals Criteria

You can also use this eligibility checker to find out whether your child qualifies for Free School Meals:  

Eligibility Checker

Free School Meals for low-income migrant children

During Covid-19, Free School Meals have been temporarily extended to children from groups with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).  

These groups are:  

  • children of Zambrano carers

  • children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

  • children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction

Find out if you're eligible and apply here


Healthy Start  

The Healthy Start scheme provides vouchers for vitamins, cow’s milk, pulses and fruit and vegetables if you’re a young pregnant woman or have children aged under 4. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you can see if you’re eligible and apply here: 

Healthy Start Eligibility

If you live in Scotland the equivalent scheme is called Best Start Foods. See if you’re eligible and apply here:   

Best Start Foods Eligibility 

Some supermarkets are helping Healthy Start vouchers go further by providing extra value.   






Help over the school holidays

If you need help with money or food for your children over the Christmas holidays you might be able to access emergency funds from your council, or other support from local charities, food banks and businesses.  You can search for this help according to your location.  



Universal Credit 

Universal Credit is the Government's main benefit support that it is in place to help people working on a low income or out of work. Due to Coronavirus, the government increased the standard allowance by £20 per week. Government say they will make a decision on keeping the £20 lifeline uplift to Universal Credit next year, as it is currently due to end in April 2021.

Find out if you're eligible, and apply here:

Universal Credit