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Six areas paying up to £70 free supermarket vouchers over Christmas including London and Portsmouth – how to claim

THOUSANDS of households can get up to £70 worth of free supermarket vouchers to spend over Christmas.

The help will help struggling families pay for food and essentials over the holiday period.

Thousands of struggling households can get help over Christmas

The vouchers are being dished out as part of the government’s Household Support Fund (HSF).

Councils have been given a slice of the new funding on offer, which will be given out to struggling households to help them with the rising cost of bills and food.

The vouchers are redeemable at most major supermarkets, but if you’re unsure where to spend contact your local council.

Depending on your circumstances, households could receive vouchers worth up to £70 – as is the case in Portsmouth.

That means what you’re entitled to will depend on where you live.

But, in most cases, money or vouchers are offered out to households on low incomes or benefits.

We’ve rounded up some of the councils offering vouchers over Christmas.

Haringey, London

In Haringey, London, the council is giving families with children on free school meals £70 supermarket vouchers to tie them over during the Christmas period.

Local schools are giving the vouchers to eligible families so if you haven’t hand one yet make sure to check with the school.


Middlesbrough Council has issued 9,000 vouchers to parents whose children qualify for free school meals.

They are redeemable at supermarkets this Christmas or can be used towards energy costs.

The council is now accepting applications from families with children under the age of five, where another child in the house is eligible for income related-free school meals.

You can apply for the vouchers through the council website.

Residents in the county can also get the vouchers if their child goes to a school outside Middlesbrough but live in the county.

The child must be eligible for free school meals.

You can also get the vouchers if you’re in receipt of a council tax reduction due to low income.

If your application is approved, you’ll get a voucher worth £60 per child.

The type of voucher you receive will depend on your circumstances, check the council website to see what you could get.

The supermarket vouchers can be redeemed at the following: Asda, Aldi, B&M, Farmfoods, Iceland, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose.


Portsmouth Council has issued thousands of vouchers to parents whose children qualify for benefits-related free school meals over the last week.

They are redeemable at supermarkets this Christmas and all families should have received their voucher by the end of the term.

The £70 vouchers will be sent to all households with school children between reception age and year 11.

Families with children in early years childcare, who qualified for two-year-old childcare funding or early years pupil premium and were attending a childcare setting on October 7 will also get the voucher.

Households will receive £70 for each eligible child.

Students aged 16–19 attending City of Portsmouth College, from low-income families, will receive a payment of £70 direct from the college.

Portsmouth council is yet to confirm which supermarkets will accept the vouchers – we’ll update this story when we hear back.


Essex County Council has revealed that free meal vouchers will be available to around 50,000 schoolchildren over the Christmas period.

Vouchers will have been sent to the parents of eligible children via their school or early years setting before the holidays start.

Each voucher is worth £15 a week per child and can be used to buy food in most supermarkets.

To be eligible for the free cash vouchers, households must contain children who are either:

  • aged four to 19 who are registered for free meals with their school or college.
  • children aged two, three and four who are entitled to pupil premium or free entitlement funding supplement.

Vouchers will be sent to eligible households automatically and parents won’t need to apply.


Cash-strapped households in the Peterborough City Council can get £35 towards their weekly shop.

Households can get one voucher for each child claiming free school meals, 2-year-olds accessing funded childcare, students eligible for a 16 to 19 bursary, or 3 and 4-year-olds receiving the Early Years Pupil Premium benefit.

Any child eligible for the support by January 2, 2023, will be able to claim a voucher.

The vouchers will be issued by midnight on Saturday, December 17, by either text or email.

Peterborough City Council said the voucher does not need to be spent on a single shopping trip, but it has to be redeemed by January 27, 2023.

It’s best to check in with Peterborough City Council to get more information about the scheme and if you are eligible.

Make sure you have information to hand about your financial situation, like any payslips or benefit payments you get.


Shropshire Council will also continue to offer children in receipt of benefits-related free school meals £15 in supermarket vouchers each week of holiday over the Christmas period.

Households will not need to apply for these vouchers as they’ll be sent out by the Council automatically.

A further 5,250 residents eligible for the HSF who live in Shropshire could get a one-off payment worth £180 before Christmas.

For more information on the payment see our story here.

What other help can I get to pay for food this Christmas?

The Healthy Start scheme offers prepaid food cards to women who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or women or men who have children under four.

Most local councils run their own welfare assistance schemes for households on low incomes or who are dealing with a crisis.

Grants can sometimes be worth up to £1,000.

Free school meals are on offer during term time and they will also be available to some families over the festive period.

Term times vary across the country, but most schools in England closed for the Christmas holidays on December 19 before returning on January 3, 2023.

Parents whose children qualify for free school meals can claim up to £40 per child, but this will vary depending on where you live.

The help given to each family depends on the local authority.

We’ve rounded up five ways you can get free cash to pay for food this Christmas.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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