Free School Meals

Combating Child Poverty

The UK Government backed voucher scheme aimed at providing free school meals has been extended to include the summer holidays following an announcement from the Government confirming the 'Covid Summer Food Fund'.

Who benefits from a free school meal?

Children of all ages from households on income-related benefits can be eligible for the government subsidised scheme. 

In England and Scotland, all school pupils in Reception and Years 1 & 2 are eligible for free school meals during term time.

How many free school meals are claimed?

1.3 million children from England claimed a free school meal in 2019.

Why is the scheme being extended?

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a number of children not being present in the classroom, raising concerns of the access to healthy meals. Free school meals have been linked to lowering obesity and improving academic achievement, two factors which could be driving the extension of the scheme.

The current voucher scheme has been met with difficulties with many complaining they have not been able to download vouchers or use them in supermarkets.

Using Prepaid Cards

For Emergency Distribution of Funds

Our Prepaid cards offer a rapid and safe way to distribute funds for free school meals.

The preloaded Mastercard® can be distributed and used to pay for food up to the value loaded on the card, offering a bespoke, managed and efficient solution to payment distribution.

allpay currently works with around 50 councils across the UK enabling them to distribute the benefits of the prepaid cards for a variety of projects and so our team is experienced in deploying such projects on both a small and large scale quickly.

Cards can be ordered within two weeks of confirmation of a programme set up and a streamlined implementation process will provide access to bulk orders of emergency payment cards within ten working days.  

If you are a council and want to start providing one of these solutions quickly to help protect your customers, please contact

Benefits of Prepaid

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Financial inclusion

Our prepaid card is available to everybody, regardless of their financial situation. Potential users do not have to have a bank account or credit check.

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Unlike paper food vouchers, prepaid cards can be used anywhere reducing stigma and removing barriers for recipients. Appropriate merchant blocking can be still applied.

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Financial Benefits

Remaining funds may be recouped and redistributed. One client has recouped 9-13% of funds, allowing re-distribution into its programmes.

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Free meal funds can be received instantly. allpay offers an in-house support team to answer customer queries and cards come with self service features such as IVR activation and pin retrieval guidance.

Our Issuer Statement

The allpay prepaid card is issued by allpay Ltd pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. allpay Ltd is a company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 900539) for the issuance of electronic money. Head office and registered address: Fortis et Fides, Whitestone Business Park, Whitestone, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1 3SE (Company No 02933191). Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Looking for an innovative way to distribute your funds?

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