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How supermarkets are helping families over the summer holidays

Here’s everything you need to know about the support and family discounts on offer from supermarkets over the summer holidays.

School holidays can be tough for families across the UK. Without the safety nets of free school meals and full days of childcare, parents and carers are left struggling to feed and look after their children. Trips to supermarkets become an inevitable hassle as you hunt for the latest deals.  

Just under 1.9 million children are eligible for free school meals in England, according to the latest government figures. Amid the cost of living crisis, the number of people facing poverty is soaring.

The government is not directly funding free school meals this year, so families have to seek out alternative budget-friendly options. There is help out there for people who need it, including at some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, many of which are offering discounts and free kids’ meals at their cafés over the school holidays. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the support being offered at the UK’s biggest supermarkets. 

Tesco

Tesco is offering free kids’ meals to Clubcard holders with any item purchased in 311 of its cafés. The offer will be running from July 25 to August 26. Free meals include the kids breakfast, kids hot meal deal and kids cold pick and mix deal. Parents can spend as little as 60p on a piece of fresh fruit for the kids to eat for free. 

Clubcard members can also use their Clubcard vouchers to get discounts on family days out and activities. Reward partners include Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Disney+, Warwick Castle, Colchester Zoo and more. 

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Tesco donates food to charities and community groups, including Trussell Trust food banks. People can also use the food sharing app, OLIO, to find free food that has been donated by Tesco.

Tesco will also be accepting free school meals vouchers. Many councils across the country are giving vouchers to eligible families. In Bath and North East Somerset, for example, families can get vouchers worth £15 a week for each child.

Asda

Asda launched its Kids Eat for £1 offer at its cafés across the country. Children aged 16 and under can eat for just £1 at any supermarket café, seven days a week, with no minimum adult spend required. As part of the government’s Help for Households scheme, Asda has extended the offer to all its cafés across the UK until the end of the year. 

The supermarket has also launched its Essential Living Hub, where families can find hints and tips from a range of experts about budgeting and saving on your grocery bills. Asda also accepts free school meals vouchers.

M&S

From July 25, M&S will be running its Kids Eat Free offer at M&S cafés. For every £5 that customers spend in the café, they’ll be entitled to a free “kids’ munch menu”.

This includes a hot breakfast main and drink before 11am, and a hot or cold lunch main, snack and drink after 11am. The offer previously ran for two weeks over the summer, but this year M&S has extended it for a third week. M&S is also accepting free school meals vouchers. 

Morrisons

During the school holidays, children aged 16 and under can get one free meal with every adult meal at Morrisons cafés. The adult meal must be at least £4.99. 

Every day from 3pm, Morrisons reduces their daily special meal to £4.99, so a parent and child can be fed for less than £5. Morrisons accepts free school meal vouchers.

Waitrose

The John Lewis Partnership will be donating £1m to local charities and organisations helping to support children in families on the lowest incomes across the UK during the summer holidays. They will also be donating £200,000 to the Trussell Trust.

Waitrose will be accepting free school meals vouchers this summer. The company is also partnering with Home-Start UK to provide training to their network of 10,000 volunteers to help them support families in areas including cooking, sleep and financial wellbeing. 

A number of Waitrose stores will also be offering customers the chance to donate Give A Little Love bags, which will contain healthy snacks, toiletries, nappies and other essential everyday items. The bags, which range in prices up to £10, can be paid for at the checkout and dropped off at one of the Give A Little Love food bank donation points in-store. The bags are then collected by local food bank staff and distributed to families who need them most. 

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s has announced its Feed your family for a fiver campaign, helping customers with budget-friendly meal ideas to feed a family of four for less than £5. With recipes including chilli con carne, beef kebabs and thai green vegetable curry, there are plenty of tasty options which your family will enjoy. Sainsbury’s accepts free school meal vouchers. 

Lidl

A number of items in Lidl have been branded with Good to give signage, indicating that they can be donated to food banks. You can buy them as usual at the till and drop off at the food donation points past the checkouts. 

The supermarket has also launched a £500,000 community fund to support its network of 1,500 charities coordinated by community platform Neighbourly. Organisations within the network can apply for funding to provide better services to the local communities they support over the summer. 

Aldi

Aldi will be donating 700,000 meals over the summer holidays. Surplus foods will go towards local charities, food banks and community groups through Neighbourly. At least half of the donations will go to causes that support children, 

Steve Butterworth, from Neighbourly, said: “School holidays are often a time when demand on charities and food banks drastically increases, particularly during summer when children are at home for six weeks or more. This push in donations from Aldi will therefore be essential in helping these organisations support families during this time.”

And here’s our Summer Survival Guide, which we will update regularly with new articles and tips on making sure your kids have a fun summer without breaking the bank

Get involved with the conversation on social media and share all your tips and advice for families using the #SummerSurvivalGuide

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