School summer holiday help for families

This story was published 30 June 2021

Families in North Yorkshire who are likely to struggle with the additional cost of food and other essentials over the summer holidays, may be eligible for food vouchers.

Inside supermarket

The Covid Local Support Grant provides food voucher payments to parents and carers in receipt of free school meals, or other families impacted financially by the pandemic.

Last week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced it would be extending the grant scheme to cover the forthcoming summer break.

We have received grant funding of £1,350,900, which it will allocate to schools and academies early in July, as well as early years providers. Care leavers will also be eligible for food vouchers.

The funding is primarily for children in receipt of free school meals, to ensure they continue to have access to food while schools are closed.  Schools will have discretion to provide some vouchers to other families they have identified as being unable to cover the cost of essentials.

The vouchers amount to £75 to cover the length of the summer holiday.

The Government scheme was first launched in time for the Christmas holidays, to ease the pressure on families faced with increased food costs when children are not in school, particularly in light of the added pressures the pandemic had placed on family budgets.

Cllr Patrick Mulligan said: “We know the voucher scheme has helped families in North Yorkshire to balance out their budgets throughout the pandemic and ease the pressure on families when they are faced with increased food costs when children are not in school.

“We are very grateful to schools, nurseries and childminders for their continued help in distributing the vouchers to families in need of this support.”

A programme of healthy holiday activities will also be taking place in North Yorkshire over the summer break. Organisations offering sessions in everything from sports coaching, to creative and performing arts and cooking sessions have signed up to North Yorkshire’s FEAST holiday activities programme.

We have commissioned North Yorkshire Together, a partnership between Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire Youth to oversee the diverse programme.

The holiday clubs will be available to all pupils in North Yorkshire, but will be free of charge to families eligible for free schools meals.

The funding for the programme has come from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The activities must be a mix of engaging activities and also teach children about health and nutrition, as well as provide them with healthy food. The activities should also enable children to stay active during the school holidays; take part in activities which support resilience and wellbeing, along with their wider educational attainment and prevent children from becoming socially isolated.