Holiday voucher scheme set to be extended for a further year

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe (right) chair of the children and young people committee with (left) vice chair Cllr Maria King.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe (right) chair of the children and young people committee with (left) vice chair Cllr Maria King. - Credit: Twitter

The ‘highly successful’ holiday voucher scheme currently operating in Cambridgeshire is due to be extended until the end of March 2023. 

The extension was decided by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) at a meeting on February 8. 

The Cambridgeshire Holiday Voucher Scheme (CHVS) has been running since the school Christmas holiday in December 2020. 

It has provided supermarket vouchers of £15 per week per eligible child for each holiday and half term period. 

The government is expected to end most of the schemes set up to help struggling families during the pandemic by the end of March, but CCC has agreed to earmark £3.6m of one-off funds to extend the scheme in Cambridgeshire for a further year. 

They say the funds are “part of the pandemic recovery”. 

Committee chair, Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, said: “I am delighted that the county council agreed to extend funding for this excellent scheme.

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"It appears that government support for families struggling during the pandemic is largely coming to an end. 

“The holiday voucher scheme will provide invaluable help for those who need it most – thus honouring one of the key commitments of the council’s joint administration”. 

Vouchers will automatically be issued to the parents of children who meet the following criteria: 

  • Funded Childcare and Education for 2-year-olds under the income-based criteria (children aged 2) 

  • Early Years Pupil Premium under the income-based criteria (children aged 3 and 4) 

  • Free School Meals (children and young people aged 4 to 16) 

  • Students in Sixth Forms eligible for Free School meals or for the 16+ bursary (young people aged 16 to 19)

The vouchers will be sent by email and/or text to the nominated parent or carer. 

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

The scheme will run alongside the council’s Holiday Activity Food (HAF) programme (operating at Easter, Summer and Christmas) and parents can access both of these. 

On March 1, CCC’s children and young people committee is being asked to agree to the funding, procurement process and allocation basis for the new Cambridgeshire Holiday Voucher Scheme. 

It’s hoped that vouchers can be allocated for the school Easter Holidays.