Herefordshire Council has been awarded more than £537,000 under the Government’s COVID Winter Grant scheme to ensure vulnerable individuals and families don’t go hungry this winter.

The scheme has been set up to provide support to vulnerable individuals and households with children, particularly affected by the pandemic throughout the winter months. 

The funding is available from December until the end of March 2021, and a large portion of the money will go towards providing free school meals for vulnerable children.  Families with an eligible child will receive a local supermarket voucher for the value of £75 to cover the cost of food for the two week Christmas holiday period, enabling household funds to be redirected to pay utility bills.

After Christmas the council will be use any remaining funds from the scheme to help struggling families with their household utility costs.  The funding will also provide grants to charity organisations who provide a food bank service and those that provide meals for the elderly and veterans.

Councillor Felicity Norman, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:

“We know the pandemic has had a devastating impact on individuals and families across Herefordshire.  The winter months are already proving incredibly difficult for many people, and it is our priority to support the most vulnerable members of our communities over Christmas and until the end of March 2021.

“The council will be issuing free food vouchers direct to parents and carers of pre-school age children.  For older eligible children individual schools will distribute the vouchers.  Schools have been asked to contact parents and carers in good time to let them know that they are entitled to vouchers and how to obtain them.  Families with an eligible child that haven’t received a voucher should get in touch with their child’s school as soon as possible.”