Funding worth £1m aims to prevent thousands of children from going hungry this winter
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A £1million support package has been set up to support Somerset families in need with food in the coming months.
Somerset County Council, district authorities and the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group have worked with partners to ensure thousands of children and their families get the food they need when they need across Christmas and winter.
All Somerset schools will be provided with £30 for every child who receives free school meals for the Christmas holidays and £15 for February half term.
Places of learning will distribute vouchers or food to families with children at schools accordingly.
Somerset County Council leader David Fothergill said: “This funding means we can ensure thousands of children and their families in Somerset will be able to get the food they need, when they need it.
“I am determined that this council will do all it can to prevent children going hungry through this very challenging Christmas and winter period.”
An additional fund has also been set up for schools to bid for money for new breakfast and after-school clubs, or expand their existing ones.
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Schools can also bid for money towards new community food projects, such as setting up a community larder or an allotment scheme.
From Easter 2021, the government free school meals vouchers programme will be replaced with the holiday activities and food programme.
Before Christmas, Somerset County Council will be writing to schools to ask if they would like to bid for funding to host or run holiday activities with food for children eligible for free school meals.
Families with children under four on low-income may be able to claim healthy start vouchers, which gives parents £3.10 per week to help buy healthy food, vitamins and milk.
To apply, visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk/
Families with children aged 16-18 not in education, employment or training can also apply for help over the Christmas period by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Winter Covid Grant Scheme has supported people of Somerset with food and underlying issues throughout the pandemic with help from local authorities, the clinical commissioning group and organisations such as Mindline, Citizens Advice Bureau, Spark Somerset, Somerset Community Foundation and the Community Council for Somerset.
People who need support over Christmas can call the Somerset Coronavirus Support helpline on 03007 906275, which is open seven days a week from 8am-6pm.