Central Beds Council will help disadvantaged families with food costs and free children's activities this summer

'We’re delighted to be able to continue to support disadvantaged families again during the holiday period'

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 1:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 1:52 pm

Central Beds Council will support the families of 7,000 children with food costs over the summer holidays, after receiving further funding from the Government to help disadvantaged youngsters.

Families will receive an £81 voucher for every child eligible for free school meals, which they can spend at a number of popular supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Aldi, Iceland and Waitrose.

The support has been made possible after the Department for Work and Pensions extended its Covid Local Support Grant, introduced last year to help struggling families, and eligible families have been contacted directly with details of how to access the support.

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Some of these families will also get an extra boost over the summer holidays, as the council will also be offering free holiday activities to children and young people aged five and upwards who are eligible for free school meals.

Children can learn to play instruments including the ukulele or the trombone, get involved in song writing classes, take part in holiday clubs, play sports and join in with dance, drama and music workshops. All activities are inclusive and there are also some specific activities targeted at children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.

The classes will be funded through the Government’s holiday activity and food programme, which provides enriching activities to disadvantaged children, and the council has worked with schools and social workers to distribute information about the scheme. Families can register at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/summer-activities

Councillor Sue Clark, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “We’re delighted to be able to continue to support disadvantaged families again during the holiday period. Our virtual holiday activities program was a huge success over Easter, and we are looking forward to offering face-to-face activities throughout the summer.”

The Holiday Activities and Food programme is for children eligible for benefit related free school meals. This is a requirement from the Department for Education who are funding the programme. Eligible families can register for activities at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/summer-activities. Guidance on applying for Free School Meals, including eligibility criteria, is available here: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/53/benefits/4/free_school_meals/Further information for Central Bedfordshire residents in financial hardship is available here: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/26/public_health/737/coronavirus_-_covid-19/8