New winter package to provide further support for children and families
Date published: 18 November 2020
Councillor Allen Brett, Leader of Rochdale Council
Rochdale Borough Council has been allocated £937,000 from the government’s £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to ensure vulnerable households do not go hungry or without essential items.
The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Local Authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December 2020.
The funding will allow councils to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals, as well as provide food for children who need it over the holidays.
Leader of the council, Councillor Allen Brett, said: “It is pleasing to see the government has finally u-turned on this funding following a phenomenal campaign from Marcus Rashford, many councils and so many wonderful businesses and members of the public who, despite their own difficulties, saw the real need to support families.
“We have been allocated £937,000 and we will be using this to fund free school meal vouchers over Christmas and the February half term. I hope that eases some families worries knowing this is coming.
“We are also planning a number of other support packages for families who need a bit more help in these challenging times.
“The feedback from families on our campaign over October half term was that they really appreciated the help offered, it showed the value that a small amount of help can make to families who are struggling financially. It also demonstrated the power and generosity of our business and communities; we’re all stepping up to help each other. It was so heart-warming and useful to hear from families and we will be feeding that in to the plans we develop.
“We do hear how families need our help and we are all here for them.”
The Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018, will also be expanded across England next year. It will cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021, and cost up to £220m. It will be available to children in every local authority in England, building on previous programmes – including this summer’s, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.
Healthy Start scheme payments are also set to increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from next April, 2021. Healthy Start supports pregnant women or those with children under four who have a low income and are in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
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