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Help scheme for families in need over the Easter holidays

Food vouchers on offer to those in need
Food vouchers on offer to those in need

A NEW raft of support for struggling families over the Easter holidays has been announced by Hampshire County Council.

Additional government funding of £1m has been given to the council’s 'connect4communities' programme, an initiative developed to ensure no child goes hungry over the school break.

As well as food vouchers and slow cookers handed out by early-years providers and community larders, there will be cash for fuel bills distributed by Citizens Advice and grants to organisations which provide direct help to vulnerable households.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, cabinet member for children’s services and young people, said: “Some people in our communities have been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 crisis and have been unable to afford basics like food and fuel.

“This extra money means we can once again offer help and support to children and young people in need while they are on holiday for Easter.”

As part of a separate scheme, HCC is also offering a wide range of activities, including wildlife and sports camps, on a paid-for basis. There are, however, free spaces for children who receive benefits-related free school meals and parents are being urged to book now to secure a spot.

The Holiday Activity and Food programme is funded by the Department for Education.

Cllr Stallard continued: “School holidays can be tough because of increased costs, such as food and childcare, and reduced incomes – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This means some children are less likely to access organised out-of-school activities and can miss out on the social and health benefits.

“By taking part in a free holiday club where a nutritious meal is provided, disadvantaged children get to enjoy the same enriching experiences as many of their friends and peers.”

Applications by voluntary organisations for community grants can be made at connect4communities.org

Organisations planning to provide an activities and food scheme with free places during the summer holidays should visit connect4communities.org to apply for grant funding.

HCC is particularly keen to receive applications for schemes targeting teenagers with age-appropriate activities.

To find out what is on offer locally, search the Family Information and Services Hub at www.hants.gov.uk

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