Free school meals to continue over Christmas, as council reveals £6.7m Household Support Fund

26 November 2021

Food vouchers for children eligible for free school meals will continue over both the Christmas and February holidays, as Norfolk County Council reveals a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) funded package of support for the winter.

Funded via the UK Government’s Household Support Fund, the £6.7m package will see the Council extend its holiday food voucher offer, as well as continuing to work in partnership with district, borough and city councils and voluntary and community organisations, to help those in most need.

The move is part of a one-off package of support, providing a bridge between the end of both furlough and the Universal Credit top-up. The aim is to give extra support to those facing significant hardship, as the economy begins to recover from the pandemic.

Cllr Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Our economy is gradually recovering from the pandemic but we know that some of our residents are continuing to face financial difficulties. This one-off package of support will help those most in need to access food and funds over the winter months, including help with energy and water costs.

“Building on the strong partnerships established across Norfolk, we are working alongside the district councils, the voluntary sector and schools to make sure we can between us reach those who need this support the most. I hope this will provide some help over the Christmas period – a time which can be especially difficult for those facing financial hardship.”

The fund will be divided up in several different ways, including:

  • £2.4m for free school meals - those eligible will receive £55 in vouchers for the Christmas period (a top-up on the usual £15 per week) and £15 for the February half-term break
  • £1.2m for Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS) – an extension of the County Council’s existing scheme to provide emergency financial help, essential household goods and advice and support
  • £1.4m to district councils for community support
  • £1m of support targeted to voluntary and community groups, via Norfolk Community Foundation. Norfolk’s voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, as well as town and parish councils and faith groups, who will be able to apply for £50 vouchers for groceries / household essentials to distribute to those in need
  • £500,000 –for local support with food. 

The majority of people offered support will receive this directly from organisations that they already trust and are in contact with. Anyone struggling this winter can find out about support available by visiting www.norfolk.gov.uk/wintersupport

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