Extra government funding has been made available, which means that food vouchers will be provided to eligible children during the May 2021 half term holiday. This is in recognition of the continued hardship facing our families during the national restrictions.
The new COVID Local Support Grant (CLSG) is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. Through this grant, support will be provided to eligible families with children, including those who would normally receive free school meals.
We have been given £52,050 in funding. This will be distributed through schools and early years providers in the form of supermarket vouchers of £20 per child.
The funding follows on from the COVID Winter Grant Scheme. This grant ran between December and April and helped support Bracknell Forest families with short-term financial help towards utility bills and food costs. We have awarded more than £28,000 so far in small grants for utility bills and supermarket vouchers to provide vital support to vulnerable families with children who are experiencing hardship during the pandemic.
Cllr Paul Bettison OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:
“The provision of free school meals has been an important consideration throughout the pandemic, as have the small grants we have provided through the COVID Winter Grant Scheme. Even as we continue on the roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown, and towards what is hopefully a much brighter future, we understand that the financial burden caused by the virus will remain for many people.
“We recognise the pressures families in Bracknell Forest are still under and are committed to continuing to provide them with essential support where needed. The council had already committed to funding school children in most need, so they do not go hungry during the May half term holidays. The announcement that there was to be an additional government grant has come as welcome news.
“I am proud of the support we have provided to vulnerable residents, and of the amazing teamwork required to accomplish this. It has been a huge joint working effort between The Department for Work and Pensions, the multiple teams within the council, our schools, early years settings and health visitors who were essential in getting the funding and vouchers out to families.”
Families do not have to apply for this. It is issued automatically and the families will be aware of the process from previous holidays. Eligibility for the May half term funding is the same as for the COVID Winter Grant Scheme.
The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme will be providing additional support to children eligible for Free School Meals. The programme will cover activities over the summer holidays and over Christmas.