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Direct voucher scheme extended for a further year to families in Cambridgeshire

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The highly successful holiday voucher scheme currently operating in Cambridgeshire has been extended until the end of March 2023.

The county council’s children and young people committee agreed the funding, procurement process and allocation basis for the Cambridgeshire Holiday Voucher Scheme yesterday (Tuesday), so that vouchers can be allocated for the school Easter holidays.

The Cambridgeshire Holiday Voucher Scheme (CHVS) has been running since the school Christmas holiday in December 2020.

Councillor Bryony Goodliffe.
Councillor Bryony Goodliffe.

It has provided supermarket vouchers of £15 per week per eligible child for each holiday and half term period.

Although the government is expected to end most of the schemes set up to help struggling families during the pandemic by the end of March, at its meeting on February 8 the County Council agreed to earmark £3.6m of one-off funds to extend the scheme in Cambridgeshire for a further year as part of the pandemic recovery.

Vouchers will automatically be issued to the parents of children who meet 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)

· Students in Sixth Forms eligible for Free School meals or for the 16+ bursary (young people aged 16 to 19).

Vouchers will be sent by email and/or text to the nominated parent or carer. The voucher does not need to be used in a single shopping trip and once claimed will last for at least a year.

The scheme will run alongside the Council’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme (operating at Easter, Summer and Christmas) and parents can access both schemes.

Committee Chair Councillor Bryony Goodliffe said: “I am delighted that the county council agreed to extend funding for this excellent scheme, even though Government support for families struggling during the pandemic appears to be largely coming to an end. The Holiday Voucher Scheme will provide invaluable help for those who need it most – thus honouring one of the key commitments of the council’s joint administration.”

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