Council’s support to families on reduced incomes continues during summer
With the school summer holidays starting this month, Telford & Wrekin Council is continuing to support families under extra financial strains.
The aim is to relieve the extra pressure on families’ budgets as a result of the school holiday and higher than usual costs by having the children at home.
A range of benefits and support for borough families on a reduced income will be in place.
Before the start of the holiday, all borough families registered for free school meals and for pre-school benefits - such as early years pupil premium or funded childcare places for two year-olds - as well as care leavers will receive from the council one voucher per household to help with food costs during holiday.
These vouchers can be used at a range of local supermarkets.
The total value of the voucher will be determined by the number of children on free school meals the family cares for, at a rate of £60 per child.
As such, a family with two children on free school meals will receive from the council a voucher worth £120.
Holiday club activities
Borough families eligible for free school meals can enrol their children in a free holiday clubs programme over the summer provided by the council in partnership with a range of local organisations and called Happy Healthy Active Holidays.
There are a range of holiday clubs offering free places for primary and secondary school-aged children eligible for benefits related free school meals – with a variety of fun activities, such as sports, music or arts and craft, along with a free nutritious meal each day.
There is specific provision for children with SEND or additional needs.
The council is also offering a number of free family activity sessions during August at its Leisure facilities, including ice skating, footgolf and cycling. A number of activities are also available for unaccompanied 14-16 year olds to enjoy.
Families with children eligible for benefits related free school meals will be contacted directly about what’s on offer and how to book their place.
Support with essentials
With a hope for more summer sun in mind, the council’s public health team is donating around 80 sun hats and sunscreen to the Baby and Toddler Bank in Sutton Hill so they can be accessed by families who need them.
This is part of the council’s continuing commitment to support Telford & Wrekin Baby & Toddler Bank - part of Telford Crisis Support project – providing much needed essentials and equipment to parents and families who are unable to provide these items for themselves.
To find out more about how Telford & Wrekin Baby & Toddler Bank can help, visit www.telfordcrisissupport.org.uk
Other financial support schemes
Even with restrictions being lifted, the council will continue with its package of schemes providing financial support for those struggling from the impact of the pandemic
Support schemes such as Council Tax reduction, Emergency Welfare Assistance (for anyone unable to afford essentials, such as food or heating) and Job Box services (helping residents to find employment) will continue to be in place.
More details on these support schemes are available on www.telford.gov.uk/coronavirus/support
Councillor Eileen Callear, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Visitor Economy said:
“Many families are finding it difficult with children at home during summer school holiday, due to increased costs.
“We want to continue to help these families as much as we can this summer through our range of schemes in place – in particular with food vouchers and holiday clubs activities, to keep children entertained, eating healthy meals, and getting ready for the start of the new school term”.
Cllr Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Co-operative Communities, Engagement and Partnerships at Telford & Wrekin Council, added:
“All throughout the pandemic, we have been making life a bit easier for those in our borough struggling financially.
“In the last year, during school holidays, over 8,200 children registered for free school meals and pre-school benefits received vouchers to use at a range of local supermarkets. This winter, our Big Winter Coats project has ensured that over 500 children had the warm clothing and shoes they needed.
“And our Laptops for Learning scheme saw more than 750 laptops delivered to primary and secondary school children who needed them to learn from home – with over 2,000 borough children expected to benefit from this scheme over the lifetime of the devices.
“Our council has also been working with 12 community groups across the borough to deliver free breakfast boxes, containing breakfast items for five days for children on free school meals.
“We are proud of the work we have done so far to support the families in our borough during an unprecedented health crisis, and that help and support will continue as long as we know it is still needed.”