Arrangements are once again in place to ensure Wirral children who normally get free school meals do not go hungry during the summer school holidays.
Earlier this year Wirral Council secured a further £3.05 million under the government’s Household Support Fund (HSF) from the Department for Work and Pensions.
More than £1million of that funding is being used to deliver projects that provide food support explicitly for children and young people over the summer holiday. They include:
Emergency School Food Pantries (£520,000) – 800 tonnes – or 16 articulated lorry loads – of non-perishable food was delivered to primary, secondary, special schools, and Birkenhead Sixth Form College before the end of the summer term for children to take home and use over holiday.
Wirral Family Cook Off (£200,000) – More than 4,000 families in all parts of the borough have received food boxes containing the ingredients and step-by-step menu cards to create 81,632 nutritious family meals together. A further round of deliveries will take place later this summer.
Holiday Activity Fund Food Support (£200,000) – The 70 clubs and activity venues taking part in Wirral’s Holiday Activity Fund programme are providing 50,000 nutritious meals to 3500 free school meal-eligible young people over the summer holiday.
Early Years Food and Essential Hampers (£130,000) – More than 100 tonnes of food and essentials are being distributed to families through six local Children’s Centres. Families with children under five who do not attend a Children’s Centre, but need support, should contact their nearest centre to discuss the help available.
As well as the projects outlined above, families can also get food help from groups within their own community under the following HSF-funded scheme:
Small Grants Programme (£600,000) – 32 community groups have received up to £20,000 each to provide food and other support to their local communities.
Wirral Council Leader, Councillor Janette Williamson, said, “With the cost of living crisis putting a massive strain on many families, we were as determined as ever to put arrangements in place to ensure that local children did not go hungry this summer holiday.
“Getting such huge amounts of food to where it is needed has been a massive logistical effort, so I would like to say a heart-felt thank you to all the partners involved including, Neo Community, Edsential, nursery and school staff and to the many community, voluntary and faith groups that have stepped up once again to help local children and families.”
Anyone struggling to get the food they need should visit the Wirral InfoBank website (wirralinfobank.com ) for details of organisations who can help.
Help for people in crisis situations is also available under the Council’s Emergency Financial Support Scheme. For more information visit wirral.gov.uk/welfaresupport or call the helpline on 666 5050 if you are unable to go online.