Extra funding for free school meal vouchers

Fenland and East Cambs Youth Advisory Boards campaign against food poverty

Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Youth Advisory Boards are hosting a conference to highlight the effects not eating can have on young people and their mental health. - Credit: 20Twenty Productions

Over 18,000 vouchers have been sent to families of children across Cambridgeshire receiving free school meals.

The £42 vouchers – which have automatically been sent to eligible families – are a continuation of the scheme which operated in previous school holidays and half-term breaks.

Although the amount of Government grant has been reduced, the new joint administration at Cambridgeshire County Council agreed to allocate an additional £570,000 to the scheme to keep benefits at their previous level.

Two £42 supermarket vouchers have been issued – the first by July 23 and the second by August 13.

The vouchers do not need to be used in a single shopping trip and once claimed will last for at least a year.

In addition, each district and city council in Cambridgeshire has been given a further £30,000 to support vulnerable families and individuals in need over the summer holidays.

This funding will go towards further supporting local activities and will be coordinated by the district and city councils.

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A further £100,000 has gone to the Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme to support families in need with essential supplies.

Further funding has also been given to the direct award scheme, which enables local community groups identified by the district or city councils to make direct food and cash awards for families in need.

Over 550 of these awards have been made so far.

Over 1,200 parental queries about the scheme have already been dealt with, but any additional queries around accessing vouchers should be sent to winter.support@cambridgeshire.gov.uk  

There is also a network of hubs run by the city and district councils that will be able to help families access further support.

Details can be found at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/wintersupport 

Local hubs can also be contacted on 0345 045 5219 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to issue so many vouchers to help struggling families.

"The new joint administration at the county council is committed to providing support to the children and their families in recognition of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

"It decided it was imperative to top up the grant offered by the Government to make a real difference to those families who need it most.”