Free Meals

Free Meals

As well as the bursary fund, some students may be eligible for the free college meals. The College will fund the free meal to all eligible students via an electronic credit or a voucher which can only be redeemed on-site to the value of £2.41 a day.

Learners who are off-site undertaking work placement or on educational visits may be offered cash at the discretion of the Bursary Officer.

Who is eligible to apply?

Learners must be aged between 16 and 18 to be eligible for a free meal. Learners who turn 19 during their study programme will remain eligible for a free meal until the end of the academic year in which they turn 19.

Learners who are aged between 19 and 25 who are subject to a learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) or Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) are also eligible for a free meal providing they meet the eligibility criteria.

Learners must have been a resident in the UK or EEA for three years preceding 31 August (verified before enrolment).

In addition to the above, learners or their parents / carers must be entitled to one of the benefits listed below to qualify for the free meals:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • State Pension Credit (guarantee element)
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on  – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

How do I apply?

  • Complete  the 16-19 Bursary Fund / Free Meals application form answering all questions to avoid any delays in processing
  • Attach the required proof (please send in photocopies and not the originals)
  • Submit your application form to Mrs I Lakhi at the College by post or in person as soon as possible


All applications for the Free Meal must be supported by appropriate evidence as detailed on the application form.

Important Notes

If false or incomplete information is submitted, or if parents do not declare any part of their income that is relevant, the matter may be referred to the Department for Education.

The learner / parent could face prosecution and St Mary’s College will seek to recover any payments the learner is not eligible for.


Meals will only be funded on the days the learner is in college.

Application Form

Download, print out and fill in our application form here. Please read the full policy first.
Please return completed forms to Mrs Lakhi, Senior Student Welfare Officer, St Mary’s College, Shear Brow, Blackburn, BB1 8DX