Eligible families to benefit from new support fund

The original winter support grant provided food vouchers to children eligible for free school meals in the school holidays. 

The original winter support grant, on which the household support grant is based, provided food vouchers to children eligible for free school meals in the school holidays. - Credit: ARCHANT

Families in Cambridgeshire who are in need of extra help during the pandemic will be able to benefit from a new household support fund. 

The £3.58 million fund, which runs from October 6 until the end of March 2022, is provided by the government but distributed to local authorities. 

It will give funding to eligible families for food, energy and water as well as linked essentials such as clothing, soap and blankets. 

The fund will also provide for other essentials such as broadband or phone bills, transport-related costs, and exceptional housing costs not met by existing housing support schemes. 

Local authorities have the discretion to determine the most appropriate scheme for their area, based on their understanding of local need.  

Delivering the scheme in Cambridgeshire has involved partnership working with public and voluntary sector partners and communities.

The original winter support grant, on which the household support grant is based, provided food vouchers to children eligible for free school meals in the school holidays. 

Cambridgeshire County Council plans to continue providing help via the direct voucher scheme, which offers parents a voucher for a choice of supermarkets. 

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The county council’s children and young people’s committee is due to approve the proposals at its meeting today (October 19). 

The vouchers are sent to eligible families automatically using school data and information held by the local authority. 

If agreed, those eligible will be pupils who have early years pupil premium, access funded two-year-old education, are eligible for free school meals and are eligible for 16+ bursary. 

Committee chair, Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, said: “The help provided by this scheme has been invaluable to eligible families throughout the pandemic and I am delighted that we are able to continue offering it. 

“The local authority is best placed to know who is entitled to help, so I am confident that funds will reach those most in need.” 

If approved today, the scheme will fund vouchers during the October half term at £15 per child, the Christmas holiday at £30 per child and £15 per child for the February half term. 

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