Notts County Council agrees £1.2m in support for holiday free school meals until February half-term

Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed £1.2million in funding for food vouchers over the Christmas break to the families of children who are eligible to receive benefits-related free school meals.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 6:10 pm

The plan, unanimously agreed at the children and young people’s committee on 30 November, will also help to ensure that more than 22,000 children will have access to meals during the February half-term.

Committee chairman Philip Owen, said: “We will also provide targeted support for vulnerable families across Nottinghamshire, who are likely to find winter especially challenging this year such as families of children being supported by a social worker or those at risk of homelessness.

“We hope that by providing these food vouchers we will be easing the pressure on some of the count’s most vulnerable families at Christmas during what has been a very difficult year.”

More than 22,000 Nottinghamshire children in low-income households will be provided with free meals via their school during the Christmas holidays. (Photo: Hollie Adams/AFP via Getty Images)

The plan is part of a wider range of measures to help the lowest income households with food and fuel costs over winter, funded via the £2.3m it received from the Government’s Covid winter grant scheme.

That money arrived after sustained campaigning by the footballer Marcus Rashford and charities working to tackle child food poverty provoked a wave of support across the country.

Councillor Owen said: “I welcome this extra targeted financial support for those in need.

“Our commitment is to allocate more than half of this money towards ensuring children don’t go hungry while they are not in school.”

A similar scheme in October provided council funding of £650,000 to cover the cost of food vouchers for more than 22,000 families in Nottinghamshire and the council pledged then to providing ongoing support.

The authority is writing to school leaders to inform them of this latest development, asking them to make plans for how best to deliver the scheme on the ground – whether that is providing vouchers directly or preparing meal packages for distribution – with further support to come from the council.

Eligible families should expect to be contacted by school staff over the coming weeks to explain how the scheme will work at their child’s school.

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