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Children receiving free school meals in Hertfordshire to benefit from food vouchers over holidays

Hertfordshire children receiving free school meals will benefit from food vouchers during the end of term holidays.

Hertfordshire County Council’s £6.17million household support fund will aim to ensure no child goes hungry during the school breaks, among its other endeavours.

The programme has jointly been devised by the council’s childrens services and adult care services teams after the local authority secured the funding from the DWP.

According to the council’s report, schools will contact parents and carers already in receipt of free school meals directly to inform them they are entitled to vouchers.

Eligible famlies will receive £30 vouchers during the Easter holidays, with £15 during the May half-term breaks and £60 over the long summer holidays.

The report adds there will also be assistance rom the fund for food banks and energy support, as well as services for homeless people and survivors of domestic abuse.

It states: “Each of the 10 district and borough councils will receive £37,500 for food support and £12,500 for energy support to be awarded via vouchers.

“£200,000 of food support and £100,000 of energy support will be distributed amongst community groups via Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

“Support is broken down into food, housing costs and home essentials for adults with complex needs as a result of domestic abuse and/or homelessness. Support is allocated on a claims basis and referrals to the service can be made by district and borough councils, voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations as well as county council services. Support may also be accessed by adults with restrictive eligibility in line with the DWP guidance.”

Pensioners on low incomes will be entitled to a one-off payment of £150 via the Post Office. The DWP provides the council with a list of each new person registered on Pension Credits each month.

Care leavers aged over 19 will also be applicable for £50 vouchers, with around 475 individuals expected to take up the offer based on previous years.

The household support fund was first provided to Herts County Council on October 2021 for £6.1million, and was renewed annually until last year – with a planned end date in March 2024.

However in February, Cllr Fiona Thomson, the council’s portfolio holder for children, families and young people, wrote to government minister Mims Davies calling for an extension of the scheme beyond March.

The scheme and its funding priorities will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Children, Young People and Families committee on Friday.

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