More Free School Meals vouchers to be provided over summer holidays
Nottinghamshire County Council will again be providing Free School Meals vouchers to thousands of eligible schoolchildren over the school summer holidays, as well as helping vulnerable Nottinghamshire pensioners, and other households who are struggling to make ends meet due to the current rise in living costs.
The Chancellor announced in March 2022 that he would be doubling the amount of money available through the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF), to help those most in need as the journey out of the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
In Nottinghamshire, the HSF had already seen £5.6 million of funding used to provide food vouchers to those children entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) during school holidays between November and March, and financial support given to households and individuals most in need of help to cover essential household costs, such as food, energy, and water bills.
The second tranche of £5.6 million for Nottinghamshire, announced by the Chancellor, will be administered by Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with its borough and district council partners.
The funding must be distributed by 30 September and to date £1,354,560 has already been allocated to provide food vouchers for thousands of children who were eligible for FSM during the Easter holiday and the recent half-term break.
In addition to this, the County Council has now committed to supporting around 30,000 children from low-income households over the school summer holidays, by providing a further £1.5 million worth of food vouchers to FSM entitled children.
This means that each entitled child will receive £50 of food support for the five-week period.
One third of the new Household Support Funding, amounting to almost £1.9 million, will be distributed to help vulnerable people of a pensionable age, while more than £600,000 of HSF funding will be made available to households in need where the occupants are not of pensionable age and have no children.
The funding will be rolled out in the coming weeks and will rely on referrals made by a network of frontline workers across the county. The County Council intends to once again use a trusted voucher scheme to deliver it.
Councillor John Cottee, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Nottinghamshire County Council continues to recognise the financial difficulties faced by a significant number of households across the county.
“I very much welcome the news that the Government has extended the Household Support Fund which will allow us to help those who need it the most by providing vouchers towards food and energy bills, and for holiday food vouchers for those on free school meals.
“We’ll be working with benefits teams, housing officers and social workers, in the County Council, our district and borough council partners, and voluntary and community sector partners to make sure we identify those who are struggling. We want to make sure they get the help they need.
“The Household Support Fund will once again go some way to easing the financial worries for pensioners and families who face the challenges and pressures of rising household energy and food costs.”
Councillor Tracey Taylor, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Providing £1.5 million from the Household Support Fund, to make sure thousands of Nottinghamshire schoolchildren don’t go hungry during the summer holiday, once again reaffirms our commitment to help households who are most in need of support.
“Nottinghamshire County Council was one of the first in the country to support the Free School Meals initiative in March 2020. I’m very pleased that we have been able to continue to provide children from low-income households with free school meals outside of term time through the Household Support Fund.
“This latest announcement is in addition to other continuing schemes to support the wellbeing of children in the county, including our Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) which focuses on supporting youngsters to improve their knowledge of health and nutrition and encouraging them to eat more healthily and be more active during school holidays.”