By Leah Conway –
Kirklees Council will use £1.2million to help struggling families with their food and fuel bills over the winter months.
The support links in with the councils support free school meals too. Families that quality as eligible for means-tested free school meals will receive payments to help them through the December and February school holidays.
Families will receive £50 per eligible child for the December school break and a further £25 for the February half-term. The funds come from the government’s Household Support Fund.
The fund will be split between food vouchers, fuel costs and welfare provisions – £1.2 million towards the vouchers for food and fuel costs. The remaining £2 million will go into Kirklees Council’s Local Welfare Provision. The welfare provision is a scheme for vulnerable people around Kirklees who experience short-term struggles with food, benefits, fuel cost, and now Covid-19 assistance too.
Read more: Free school meal vouchers available this October half-term
Helping over 16,000 children
Council Leader, Cllr Shabir Pandor, said: “Over 16,000 children in Kirklees receive means-tested free school meals, so the impact on those families will be huge. This decision highlights that supporting children and tackling inequality are top priorities for this council.
“Free school meal vouchers have been a vital lifeline during the pandemic and have addressed holiday hunger across our communities. By topping them up with a contribution towards fuel bills, we are also helping people to stay warm, safe and healthy during the winter months.”
Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said: “It’s essential that children go back to school after the holidays feeling happy and ready to learn. This improves their long-term outcomes and means young people are equipped to fulfil their potential.
“We will join with our schools – who have done incredible work throughout the pandemic – to ensure all eligible families receive their payments. We don’t want anyone to miss out if their circumstances have changed, so I would urge people to check what kinds of support are available.”
Cllr Paul Davies, Cabinet member for Corporate, said: “In addition to £1.2million of food and fuel vouchers, we are pleased to be adding more funds into Local Welfare Provision. This has helped many Kirklees residents to get through short-term problems at a time when financial hardship has increased.
“Local Welfare Provision supports families and individuals with essential items, as well as offering a wide range of valuable advice. It helps the people who are most in need, reduces disadvantage and makes a truly positive change in many lives.”