Councillors unanimously agreed plans to deliver a supermarket voucher scheme to help ensure no child goes hungry over the festive period and into the new year. The decision was made at Cabinet following discussion today at a joint meeting of the Children, Young People & Families and Education, Libraries & Localism Panels.
Hertfordshire County Council is teaming up with the Family Food Trust, a government backed charity, who will support our schools and colleges to deliver food vouchers to entitled families in receipt of free school meals during the Christmas holidays and in February 2021 half-term.
This follows recent government announcements of the COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme, most of the £2.49 million funding for the county will support families with food. There is also an opportunity to extend this to cover essential items and household bills for those in need of a little extra help.
Schools will share vouchers for use at four major supermarkets with over 24,000 entitled children and young people before the end of term.
Each child will receive £30 for the 10 day break over the festive period, and a further £15 for the 5 days of February half-term. This support is not available for children entitled to Universal Infant Free School Meals. Information about how to use the scheme will be provided in alternative formats for families that require this, and vouchers will be printed for those who are unable to download them.
Teresa Heritage, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, said;
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to agree an approach that will ensure we can deliver this vital scheme.
“At this difficult time, it is essential that our hardest-hit families have access to food and other help when it is needed, especially over the festive period.”
Terry Douris, Executive Member for Education, Libraries and Localism, added;
“I would like to thank schools and colleges for their support to rollout the voucher scheme at what is already, a very busy time for them. The partnership work highlighted today is so important, and together we will ensure that no young people will go hungry this winter.”
Work is ongoing to ensure everyone who needs help can access that support and we will be working closely with our family centre service, schools, colleges, borough and district councils and local voluntary organisations and charities to ensure no one falls through the gaps.
To check if you are entitled for free school meals, and to apply visit: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals