Helping feed children and families in Nottinghamshire hit by the coronavirus
Councillor Philip Owen explains how the County Council has been ensuring that children don't go hungry during the school holidays.
Covid-19 has had a devastating impact across the world and in the UK. As well as those who have become seriously ill or lost their lives due to the virus, we have also had to manage the economic impact. Some people have lost their jobs, through no fault of their own, and have struggled to support themselves and their families.
As we begin to follow the government’s four step plan for coming out of lockdown, with children and young people returning to face to face education, many of us are understandably eager to move on. But it’s important that we don’t forget about those people who need are help, just as we didn’t forget about those who have struggled over the last twelve months or so.
To ensure no children go hungry in our county, we’ve been providing funding for food vouchers, for families of children eligible for benefits-related school meals. During the October 2020 half term, we provided £650,000 to cover the cost of food.
We did the same over the Christmas holidays and the February half term period, as part of a £2.3 million government provision, the Covid Winter Grant Scheme, a wide range of measures to help the lowest income households with food and fuel costs over winter.
Over half of our Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding was allocated to support free school meals during the December and February breaks, and will continue to provide meals to children over the Easter holidays.
It has meant that more than 25,000 children in Nottinghamshire did not go hungry during the school holidays. As well as school age children, we’ve been providing vouchers for nursery age children, and young people at sixth form colleges as well.
This financial support meant that those in need over winter were not forgotten. We were able to ease the pressure on some of Nottinghamshire’s most vulnerable people over Christmas and school breaks, during a very difficult and unusual time for many of us.
Many of those families that we have been supporting have found this winter especially challenging, some are families of children being supported by a social worker, or those at risk of homelessness.
As well as this financial support, we have provided meal planners and recipes ideas, to help parents and carers make healthy and affordable meals.
I remain committed to helping children and families in Nottinghamshire. I’m proud of the council’s record on this, supporting people during these difficult times, as we look forward to better years ahead.
Councillor Philip Owen, Committee Chairman for Children and Young People's Services at Nottinghamshire County Council