County council reminds strugging families help is available

Cambridgeshire County Council has issued a reminder that help is available for struggling families during the pandemic.

The statement was released following the government’s decision to not continue funding free school meals over the school holidays.

“...the county council is reminding people in Cambridgeshire that there always has been and there still is support for those who need it,” it said.

Families struggling to cope during the pandemic are urged to contact their county or district council, whether it is Fenland District Council or East Cambridgeshire District Council.

This also includes families who are not currently eligible for free school meals.

A county-wide hub has been set up to support residents whose needs and circumstances have changed because of the pandemic. It can be contacted on 0345 0455219.

Launched seven months ago, the hub continues to support people with access to food and other supplies if they cannot provide for their families including those eligible for free school meals in holidays.

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Guidance is also available to ensure families are maximising their eligibility for other benefits.

Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We take seriously our responsibilities to ensure support for vulnerable people, the provision of food for children in the school holidays is no exception; the majority of families will not go hungry as those on low incomes regularly manage using their benefits; however if they are struggling we can ensure emergency food supplies are made available.

“In August, Government provided our area with limited financial support of £540k for measures such as this - for vulnerable people of all ages.

“Alongside our district and city colleagues we talk to people about their needs and how these can best be met, so that this resource has targeted those in greatest need. For Cambridgeshire, unlike some other areas, there is practically nothing left – but it is vital to us that no child is left hungry.”

He added: “We continue to ask government to set a new and fairer funding formula, so that our Cambridgeshire residents can enjoy the same benefits that many in other areas regularly take for granted.”