The Covid Winter Grant Scheme provides food voucher payments to ensure parents and carers hit hard by the pandemic can continue to provide the essentials, by helping meet the cost of food during the school holidays.
The scheme was rolled out successfully over Christmas, when approximately 17,000 vouchers were distributed to parents in North Yorkshire within four weeks of the national initiative being announced.
The County Council allocated more than £700,000 of funding from the scheme, to ensure children eligible for Free School Meals continued to have access to food over the Christmas holidays. The supermarket vouchers were distributed with the help of schools, academies, early years settings and post-16 colleges. The County Council also provided vouchers to care leavers.
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Schools were given funding to not just those in receipt of Free School Meals, but other families who they had identified as being in need, in recognition of the fact that some families are finding themselves newly struggling as a result of the pandemic.
The County Council is currently allocating further grant funding to schools, academies, care leavers, nurseries and other education settings before the start of the February half-term holiday.
Cllr Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills said: “The county council and schools, nurseries and colleges were able to turn this scheme around and distribute 17,000 vouchers to families in less than four weeks of the initiative being announced nationally, ensuring they received the funding to tide them over Christmas in early December.
“This was an incredible achievement and we would like to thank schools and early years’ providers for helping us distribute this financial support and for all the work they put into making sure these vouchers got to those families who needed it most.”
Any families not eligible for Free School Meals who are struggling financially can apply to the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, which makes emergency awards for food or utility vouchers. The County Council has increased its award entitlement for emergency provision for a temporary period to help those hit hardest by the pandemic.
To find out more information on the NYLAF, visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/nylaf.