FAMILIES eligible for free school meals can now visit redistribution superstore Company Shop as the firm becomes a registered provider of the Free School Meal (FSM) voucher scheme.

Those eligible for the national scheme and have signed up to receive the Company Shop Group voucher – which is worth £15 a week and inclusive of both Company Shop and Community Shop – will have access to essential food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, that are on average up to 53 per cent off the normal retail price.

The Government scheme began with mainstream retailers, but recognising the opportunity to provide additional support to the community, Company Shop Group has invested in new capabilities to provide this offer. This is the latest initiative from Company Shop Group to support those affected by the pandemic, building on its food parcel delivery scheme and extension of membership criteria.

Alongside the voucher, the Group will continue to provide free and hot meals to children and families within its Community Shop kitchens, including through the school holidays – an offer that Community Shop has always remained committed to delivering.

Steph McGinty, Retail, People and Communities Director People, said: "Across our stores, we have always run initiatives which aim to provide food access and support to the children and families who need it most, so we are pleased to be extending our provision even further with the national voucher scheme.

“We have proactively invested in the necessary resources to help make this happen, as we are determined to continue to do all we can to support the families and communities of St Helens we are so proud to serve. We know that this will make a big difference to our existing members, and we also look forward to welcoming non-members into our stores so that they too can benefit from the provision on offer.”

The Government launched its Free School Meal Voucher Scheme in response to the school closures brought by COVID-19. The scheme aims to ensure that every child that would usually receive meals during the school day, still has access to the food they need, including throughout the whole summer holiday period.

The Group joins Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda, M&S Food, Aldi, McColl’s and Iceland as registered providers of the voucher.