To help keep children at risk of going hungry fed this half-term holiday we have focused our Emergency Assistance Grant funding to ensure that families in need have access to food.
Our Emergency Assistance Grant funding is available and we will also be incorporating some of the £2m un-ringfenced funding received last week from Government to spend on local priorities. Families eligible for free school meals can apply for a payment card by visiting our One Stop Shops, contacting their local Citizens Advice Bureau or calling the Council on 01454 868009, and successful applicants will receive a card within 48 hours with sufficient funds (£20) for meals for a week for their children that can be used in all main supermarkets and other retail outlets.
We are also pleased to announce that we are working with local suppliers, alongside our maintained schools and academies, to provide food parcels for those eligible for Free School Meals, which we hope will be in place by the middle to the end of the week. We have been inundated with support from multi-academy trusts (MAT) CEOs and Headteachers from across the area who will be opening up schools across a range of locations within South Gloucestershire for the delivery of food parcels; funded directly by the Council to support those most in need. Details of this offer will be available within the next two days, including the locations and the time when people can come and collect.
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Cllr Sam Bromiley said: “We don’t want any children to go hungry whether they qualify for free school meals or not and we are doing all we can to ensure support is available to those who need it. I received free school meals as a child and I know that the holidays can be a tough time for some families as they need to provide more food than during term time as well as managing activities and childcare. Our emergency assistance grants will help to make sure that our most vulnerable children and their families get the support they need.”
To find out more and how to claim please visit www.southglos.gov.uk/halftermsupport or call 0800 953 7778.
For families that are struggling, there is also the ongoing Mutual Aid support that we have helped coordinate during the Covid-19 pandemic which gives families a further option. Our Member Awarded Funding is available to mutual aid groups (www.southglos.gov.uk/maf) and we are working alongside a range of organisations who would normally be providing a variety of community support services, who have now refocused their resources to help meet the challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak. Further details are available at https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/get-help-and-support-in-your-area/
For residents without access to our website or social media, please call our freephone number 0800 9537778 or alternatively contact Southern Brooks Community Partnerships, who are working alongside the council to connect individuals in need of support with the help they need. They can be contacted on 0333 577 4666 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.