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Direct food vouchers available for half term holiday for Cambridgeshire families

Additional funding has been made available for families struggling financially during the pandemic.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council will be offering help to vulnerable families through the Direct Food Voucher Scheme.

This will be funded by the Government as part of its Covid Support Grant up to the provisional easing of restrictions on June 20.

Cambridgeshire's director of education Jonathan Lewis.
Cambridgeshire's director of education Jonathan Lewis.

A supermarket voucher will be automatically allocated to parents or carers whose child meets the following criteria:

• Funded Childcare and Education for 2-year-olds under the income-based criteria (children aged 2)

• Early Years Pupil Premium under the income-based criteria (children aged 3 and 4)

• Free School Meals (children and young people aged 4 to 16)

• 16-19 students in Sixth Forms eligible for Free School Meals or for the 16+ bursary (young people aged 16 to 19).

Each eligible child or young person will be issued with a £15 supermarket voucher by 29 May for use during the half term holiday. The voucher does not need to be used in a single shopping trip and will be valid until the end of June 2021. Vouchers will be sent by email and text.

It is important that potentially eligible families who do not already receive free school meals apply as soon as possible, in order to be allocated the Direct Food Vouchers. Information on how to apply can be found on Cambridgeshire County Council’s website here or Peterborough City Council’s website here. Queries relating to free school meal entitlement can be sent to ewb.fsm@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or by phoning 01223 703200.

If your child normally receives Universal Infant Free School Meals (in Reception, Y1 and Y2) but you do not meet the criteria for income-related Free School Meals, you will not be eligible for a supermarket voucher during the summer half term.

As a result of the pandemic, there are many families that may need further support who are eligible for the Direct Food Voucher Scheme. There will also be families who do not meet the above criteria but are in need of support.

There is a network of hubs run by the city and district councils that will be able to help families access further support. Details can be found at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/wintersupport or www.peterborough.gov.uk/wintersupport Local hubs can also be contacted on 0345 045 5219 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Jon Lewis, director of education for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council said: “I am delighted that we are again able to offer financial help to struggling families in the form of supermarket vouchers. However it is vital that they reach everyone who is entitled, so if your financial circumstances have changed recently, please apply for Free School Meals in order to receive the Direct Food Vouchers.”

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