Further £400k food support funding to help Somerset families in lockdown
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Somerset County Council has allocated a further £427,000 of funding to help schools provide families with food support in lockdown.
The news comes after the authority announced a £1million support package to help Somerset families in need with food this winter in December.
Leader of Somerset County Council, David Fothergill, said it is ‘imperative’ that no-one goes hungry in Somerset.
He added: “The measures we have put in place to provide additional funding for schools mean that there is food support available for children who are eligible for free school meals, as well as other families who now need some help during these challenging times.”
During term time, the Department for Education (DfE) asked schools to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school, as well as those being home-schooled, who are eligible for free school meals.
The decision on whether to provide boxes or vouchers rests with individual schools and the council is working with them to ensure the region’s food boxes meet or exceed the DfE standard.
The additional £427,000 funding will be used to enhance the quality of food provided and to ensure it meets dietary requirements and the money can also be used by schools to support a wider range of children.
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Cllr Fothergill added: “I’d like to thank all our schools which are working hard to allocate food, and all of our partners who are supporting the food resilience programme.
“It is very much a team effort to ensure there is enough food for everyone in Somerset.”
The additional funding for schools is part of a wider network of support in the county during the pandemic, which has ensured people have access to food, personal, financial and emotional support.
Somerset’s local authorities are working with organisations including foodbanks, FareShare, HIS Church, Somerset Community Council Village Agents and voluntary and community groups in the area to provide food items and frozen meals, as well as support the development of new community pantries and larders to help people have longer-term, sustainable solutions in place.
Families in need of food support are encouraged to contact the Somerset Coronavirus Helpline on 03007 906275.