Mid-term food vouchers available for families in Hertfordshire
Distressed families in Hertfordshire with children will be entitled to additional financial support from the County Council during the next school holidays.
With rising unemployment, rising fuel costs, and changes to universal credit, the number of families facing financial uncertainty in the county has increased.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic, and over the past year the number of families eligible for free school meals has increased by more than 12% – to 27,003 .
In recent months, the departmental council has made vouchers available to families eligible for free school meals during the holidays. This support was to end after the summer vacation.
But now the County Council is making plans to extend the voucher scheme until January – after receiving £ 6.172million from the government’s ‘household support fund’.
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The support is just one of many ways the £ 6million will be used in the county, by March of next year.
County Council Chief Cllr Richard Roberts said: “I am delighted that the government wants to support families like this.
“This is one-time funding, so it is not guaranteed for the future, but it will be welcome for families who are entitled to it.
“I think for some families it could be the difference between coping and not coping. “
Cllr Roberts says he will build on the £ 180million already spent by County Council to support families.
And with the additional £ 6million, he says, “We can do a lot with this scale of funding – by working with partners in the districts and boroughs. “
So far, departmental council officials have pledged to make support for holiday vouchers available during the fall and Christmas holidays. Eligible families will receive a voucher code directly by email.
Nationally, £ 500million is made available to advice by the government through the ‘Household Support Fund’.
The fund is available for use during the winter – and is designed to help needy households with grants for items such as food, clothing and utilities.