Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs published Thursday 7 May
Q Can you confirm when vouchers are topped up and when I can use them from each week?
We instruct the weekly £20 top up of our voucher cards on a Friday to ensure that the updated funds are available for Monday morning. The funds may be available over the weekend, but they are for the week beginning on the Monday. You can use the balance at any time during the week.
Q I have lost/discarded my voucher card. How can I get a replacement?
It is really important that you look after your voucher cards and keep them safe at all times. You must ensure you get them
back when you have used them to purchase food each week. If you have lost your card, you should phone Customer Services on 0300 123 4510 and give your name, and the name, school and year group of your child/ren. We will need to identify and cancel your original card before then sourcing a replacement and getting this issued to you. The replacement can take a number of days to be issued.
FAQs published Wednesday 24 April 2020
Q I applied for a voucher after they were first issued on 6 April. When it is issued, when will it be dated from?
Following the clarification of our eligibility criteria on 15 April, in relation to those entitled to free school meals in our Early Years Centres (with the exception of universal free meal provision in our pilot 1140 hours centres) and those entitled to free school meals in schools but not in receipt of a School Clothing Grant (with the exception of the universal free meal provision for P1 – P3), we can confirm the following:
- For those that apply before the end of April, following verification of eligibility, vouchers issued will be backdated to 6 April.
- Any applications from 2 May that are verified as eligible will have their voucher issued with £20 commencing from the following Monday.
All vouchers will continue to be topped up by £20/week on a Monday while the schools and Early Years Centres remain closed.
Q I tried to use my voucher on Monday when the shop opened at 9am and it had not been topped up. What time on a Monday are the vouchers updated by?
Vouchers should be topped up by the time shops open on a Monday morning. We are aware of issues with some of the top ups on Monday 20 April and raised this with Farmfoods. They have apologised for the issue and are working to ensure that this does not happen again.
FAQs published Wednesday 15 April 2020
Q I used my vouchers and discarded them. When will I get my new ones?
We stressed in our original communications that the vouchers will be topped up each week on a Monday. It is really important that you keep them safe as they are automatically topped up by £20 each week. You will not receive new vouchers each week. If you have discarded or lost your original voucher you will need to phone 0300 1234510 to report this. We will need to deactivate your original voucher before we can replace it and we only have a limited supply to replace any that have been thrown away by mistake. As such, it will take us some time to get a replacement to you.
Q Can you confirm the eligibility criteria?
The Food Vouchers were initially allocated to all those in receipt of a School Clothing Grant. It was then identified that a small number of pupils were in receipt of Free School Meals but not a School Clothing Grant and a small number of nursery children were in receipt of Free Early Years Meals. Eligibility applies to all of these awards: School Clothing Grant, Free School Meals (with the exception of the universal provision for P1-P3) and Free Early Years Meals (with the exception of the universal provision in our pilot 1140 hours Early Years Centres).
All those in receipt of these awards have now been allocated vouchers. Most have already been issued and the remaining vouchers are being issued this week.
Q I already receive a School Clothing Grant and/or Free School Meals/Early Years Free Meals this year (2019/20), but have still not received a voucher. How do I get one?
If you have previously applied and been awarded a School Clothing Grant and/or Free School Meals or Early Years Free Meals (excluding the universal free meal provision for P1-P3 and for our pilot 1140hrs Early Years pilots), but have not received a Food Voucher by the end of this week (Friday 17 April/Saturday 18 April), please phone 0300 1234510 on Monday 20 April with your name, your child/ren’s name/s, the School they attend, and the year they are in. It would also be helpful if you could confirm when you received your award. We will investigate and get back to you.
Q I qualify for Early Years Free Meals but I have not been issued with a Food Voucher. How can I get one?
For those that have been awarded Early Years Free Meals for 2019/20 (excluding the universal provision in our pilot 1140 hours Early Years Centres), we are issuing vouchers.
The remaining vouchers are being issued this week, and should arrive by the end of the week (Friday 17 April/Saturday 18 April). If you have not received your voucher by Monday 20 April, please phone 0300 1234510 with your name, your child/ren’s name/s and the Early Years Centre they attend, and when you received your award. We will investigate and get back to you.
If you are eligible for Early Years free meals but have not previously applied due to universal provision being available in your Early Years Centre, please apply now through our updated online process, remembering to submit the evidence of your eligibility. Once your eligibility have been verified, you will be issued with a voucher for your eligible child.
Q I think I am eligible for the School Clothing Grant/Free School Meals/Early Years Free Meals, but have not previously applied. Can I apply now?
If you are eligible for either a School Clothing Grant or Free School Meals/Free Early Years Meals (not including the universal provision for P1-P3 or the universal provision in our pilot 1140 Early Years Centres) but have not yet applied for the 2019/20 school session, you can apply now through our application process, which is now available online.
You must include the evidence to support your claim when you submit the online form. Once your eligibility has been verified, you will be issued with a Food Voucher while our schools remain closed.
Q I do not currently get a School Clothing Grant or Free School Meals/free Early Years Meals, but my circumstances have changed as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). I think I am now entitled, and would therefore be entitled to a Food Voucher. What should I do?
You should check and see if you are entitled to any Benefits if your circumstances have changed and apply for these in the usual way.
Once you have any new benefits you are entitled to confirmed, you can make an application for a School Clothing Grant or Free School Meals/Free Early Years Meals. The application process for these awards are now available online on our Food Voucher page and you should upload your evidence of eligibility when you submit your application form.
You can also seek a referral to the Food Bank if you have no other means of providing food for your family. The new OPAL Helpline 0141 438 2347 established in East Dunbartonshire may be able to help you with this.
You may also be able to apply for a Scottish Welfare Fund Crisis Grant if your circumstances have left you in a difficult position. You can find the details on the Council website: https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/benefits/scottish-welfare-fund
Q7 Will the vouchers be backdated to Monday 23 March, the week after the schools finished on Friday 20 March?
No, the vouchers will not be backdated, as free school meals were still available for those eligible for school clothing grants, through the snack & learn programme which was available to eligible children and young people from Monday 23 March.
The vouchers were initially loaded with £20 per child from Monday 6 April and will be topped up by a further £20 each week from Monday 13 April. The vouchers will continue to be topped up over the school Easter Holidays and during the weeks that include the May Bank Holidays. Vouchers being issued this week will include the initial value of £20 and this week’s top up of £20.
Q Will the vouchers continue to be topped up over the school Easter Holidays?
The vouchers will continue to be topped up over the school Easter Holidays and during the weeks that include both the early May Bank Holiday (Friday 8 May) and the late May school holiday long weekend (Friday 22 May to Monday 25 May). They will be available until further notice and until normal school provision recommences.
Q My children are in P1 to P3 and normally get a school lunch in line with the Scottish Government policy for free school meals for P1-P3. Why are we not being allocated a food voucher?
The provision of universal free school lunches for P1 to P3 is a different commitment to the provision of free school meals as a result of the financial impact COVID-19 is having on parents/carers. The Scottish Government guidance is clear that providing school meals or vouchers during this period does not apply to the universal provision of lunches for all P1-3.
Q How much is the award?
You will receive a card for each child in receipt of a School Clothing Grant. The card will be pre-loaded with £20, and will be topped up by £20 on the Monday of each week after issue (beginning Monday 13 April)
Q Can I only use the voucher in Farmfoods?
Yes, the voucher can only be used at Farmfoods. The voucher is intended for food purchases only as a substitute for a free school meal.
Q I don’t usually shop at Farmfoods, where is my nearest store?
Bearsden & Milngavie
Bishopbriggs & Auchinairn
Kirkintilloch & the Villages
You can find other locations using Store Finder on the Farmfoods website https://www.farmfoods.co.uk/store-finder.php
Q What happens if I don’t spend the whole amount?
It doesn’t need to be spent all at once, and the card will be topped up as advised whilst our schools remain closed as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is expected that the money will be spent regularly and within a four week period of each top up, to provide food usually provided through free school meals. Only cards that are activated will be uploaded on an ongoing basis.