Winter grants available to help families with food and fuel

Lunches have been given out to children entitled to free school meals since the first lockdown.

Low income families can receive help with food and fuel bills through the winter grant scheme. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Low income families in North Somerset can access financial help during the pandemic this winter.

North Somerset Council has been given £523,000 from the Government's Covid winter grant scheme to people on a low income with food and fuel costs for the months of December to March.

The council is keen to see this money distributed to help people most in need - any money not allocated by the end of March will have to be returned to the Government.

Initially, vouchers were distributed to all children entitled to free school meals, and care leavers, of £15 a week for the two weeks of the Christmas holidays.

North Somerset Council also encouraged struggling families to access support from the Welfare Provision Scheme (WPS) for fuel vouchers and assistance with clothing.

During the two Christmas weeks, £181,400 was allocated to people in need through the school vouchers and WPS.

The council will automatically provide a further food voucher to all children entitled to free school meals in February, including half-term when school support is not available.

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Cllr Catherine Gibbons, the authority's executive member for children's services, said: “We believe no child should go hungry during term time or the school holidays and the extra vouchers we are providing in February will ensure all children will have meals during the half-term week.

"There is plenty of money still available under this grant scheme and we want to make sure it goes to those families and individuals in North Somerset who really need it. We don't want to have to give it back to the Government.

“Many are struggling with the economic impact of coronavirus and will continue to do so while the pandemic remains with us. This money is there to help the hardest hit families and individuals over the winter period. If you're struggling to provide meals for your children or pay the heating bills, we can help."

Families and individuals who need more help can apply through the Welfare Provision Scheme. Log on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wps, or call 01934 888035 or 08001 385665 from10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

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