Cheshire council ‘unable’ to fund mid-term meal vouchers – but will pay for Jubilee picnics

Cheshire West and Chester Council have confirmed they will not use government money to fund supermarket meal vouchers for schools during midterm – but will fund picnics to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the queen.

Families with children who are entitled to free school meals were previously eligible for vouchers during holidays. But parents have received letters saying they will not be available this semester, with money received by the council from the government’s household support fund being allocated to other food projects, including Jubilee events.

More than half of the money had previously been earmarked by the school board. But Councilor Robert Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said that after receiving government advice on the latest round of funding, the council worked with the foster network, the Advisory Council on truth about poverty, including financially challenged residents and other organizations on proposals for how she might allocate the temporary funds.

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He said the changes to the guidelines meant he had to “consider carefully” how the council could help the temporary funds reach as many residents as possible.

Cllr Cernik said: “The council is unable to provide funding for supermarket vouchers to schools during the May mid-term partly due to the change in guidance, but support will continue to be available. for fuel, food and other emergencies through the Council’s Emergency Relief Program.”

The groups that received funding for the May semester are:

  • Rudheath and Witton together – recipe bags for picnics
  • Blacon Beacon – Jubilee Picnic Lunch
  • Chester Cathedral – ingredients and recipes for two slow cooker meals and two sandwich lunches
  • Friends of Lache – picnic lunch for a day of activities to celebrate the Jubilee
  • GGO Community Group – Jubilee food event
  • Soul Kitchen – food packs for children and families in temporary accommodation
  • Elton Community Center – food vouchers that families can use on Jubilee Day
  • Save the Family – Jubilee Picnic and Children’s Packed Lunches for the week
  • Westminster Families – Wezzy Wednesdays lunch for children and families who are part of the Westminster Families Community Group

Cllr Cernik added: “Council plans are well advanced for a major holiday activity fund scheme this summer, incorporating the Household Support Fund. This will be used to provide supermarket vouchers for those receiving free school meals during the summer holidays, as well as to maximize the wider reach of the Household Support Fund for residents in need. »

The Emergency Aid system is available throughout the week of the start of the school year for those who need it, including the two public holidays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The program can be contacted by telephone on: 0300 123 7065 or by email at: [email protected]

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