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Gloucestershire Business News

£30k to stop Gloucestershire children going hungry over the summer

Gloucestershire County Council has invested £30,000 as part of its Holiday Hunger programme to ensure no young person goes hungry during the summer holiday.

The extra money will complement the government's supermarket voucher scheme for children receiving free school meals, which was introduced to help people throughout the Covid crisis, and has since been extended to support families over the summer holidays.

The county council's Holiday Hunger Programme launched last year and provides hot meals to children and young people entitled to free school meals during term time. This year, each district has been given £5,000 to help provide children with food by using local voluntary and community organisations. In addition to hot meals, the programme can also be used to pay for activities for vulnerable children, young people and their families during the school holiday.

From 23rd March, children eligible for free school meals have been getting packed lunches to make sure they do not go without. Families have also received hampers with 10 days' worth of food inside. The hamper comes with recipe cards, so parents can easily cook healthy, nutritious meals with their children.

Gloucestershire County Council and its free school meals partner, Caterlink, have delivered over 25,000 free school meals to children on the scheme since the end of April and 7,500 hampers to families. Other families eligible for free school meals have received supermarket vouchers, worth £15 per child per week.

Cllr Richard Boyles, cabinet member and deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "In this unprecedented time, the extra funding from government for the summer food fund will be welcomed by many families across the county, and this is part of a wider programme of support for families with financial challenges.

"Over 15,000 children a day are currently being supported to receive free school meals and we have ensured that, since 23rd March, families get that support at home. There has been a five per cent increase in families needing support since this time. The Covid summer food fund, in addition to the council's Holiday Hunger Programme will extend this support over the summer holidays to ensure that children do not go without."

The Covid-19 food fund and the council's Holiday Hunger Programme are available over the summer holidays for families who are experiencing hardship during this time, due to the impact of Covid-19. To apply for support via the Holiday Hunger Programme, go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/gloucestershire-welfare-support-scheme

Those who receive free school meals are eligible for the Government's Covid food fund. If your household income has changed recently, you can check if your child is now eligible for free school meals. Go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/education-and-learning/school-transport-and-free-school-meals/apply-for-free-school-meals where you can apply online and will receive an instant decision on your eligibility.

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