Work gets underway in Hampshire following national funding package announced to support the most vulnerable children and families

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans has welcomed news that £2.89 million of funding will come to Hampshire as part of Government’s £170 million winter funding package heading to councils across the country, to help support the most vulnerable children and families - including providing free meals to disadvantaged children during the Christmas holidays.

Nov 12 2020

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding announced over the weekend, will support children, families and the most vulnerable over the season, while the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be extended to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks in 2021. Healthy Start payments from Government, which help expectant mothers and those with young children on low incomes and in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, are also set to increase from April 2021.

Commenting, Councillor Mans said: “During the October half term, the County Council distributed funding, via the voluntary and community sector, to support food banks and charities helping to support the most vulnerable families in Hampshire. While our support to help address the immediate problem in Hampshire has been important, we made it clear to Government that a proper solution was needed to this national issue.

“This recent announcement is very welcome news for the hardest-hit Hampshire families – particularly for those specifically and significantly affected by the pandemic, and for whom the challenges of winter will be especially difficult this year.”

Councillor Mans added: “With funding to be allocated locally, we’ve already set to work in earnest on developing plans that will enable us to support those in the greatest need in Hampshire. While much of the focus to date has been in supporting families whose children are eligible for free school meals, we will be exploring the possibility of extending the assistance to families of children being supported by a social worker, and those where we are delivering early help interventions to prevent families reaching social crisis.”

Further details on plans for Hampshire will be announced in due course.