School and college discretionary grants
We are making funds available to every school and college to help families who may not be immediately eligible for the free food vouchers. The families who can receive this support may be those that are struggling financially because a parent has lost their job due to COVID-19, for example. Schools and colleges can use these grants to help families with:
- food vouchers
- energy cards or energy tokens to pay fuel bills
- other essential items (warm clothing or bedding)
We are confident that schools and colleges know their communities best and are well placed to make local decisions about how to use the funding.
Books for early years children
Thanks to a kind donation by the Book Trust, free books and activity packs will be given to families with children in early years who are eligible for the food voucher scheme. The donations are an extra gift that promotes reading for fun and improves literacy. The books will be sent to childcare and early years settings to distribute.
In January, a £20 food or fuel voucher was provided for each care leaver who is not already benefiting from the food voucher scheme. Care leavers will be provided with £20 fuel vouchers throughout the year. It is expected that over 1,900 care leavers will receive these vouchers.
The vast majority of young carers and their families received a voucher as part of the food voucher scheme. However, there are an estimated 389 young carers who may not be catered for within this offer. A grant of £6,000 for the Hampshire Young Carers’ Alliance (HYCA) provided food or essential items for this group and their families over the 2020 Christmas holidays.
A second grant of £6,000 for the HYCA enabled them to deliver food and activity parcels during the 2020 February half-term. The ten HYCA young carers projects across Hampshire are giving their members hampers and activity boxes which will include items funded by connect4communties.
Kids on Track, based in Andover, provided recipe hampers to 70 children and their families during 2020 February half-term.
Chandler’s Ford Help provide emergency parcels to local households while they are waiting to be referred to more sustainable support, such as universal credit.
Feed a Family (associated with Gosport Borough FC) received a grant for the 2020 Easter holidays to provide Easter items (chocolate and activity packs) in their regular food hampers to local families to keep them entertained during the holidays.
Winter grant scheme
As part of the Government’s Winter Grant Scheme, we funded a food voucher scheme to help feed children and young people over the Christmas holiday fortnight, the February half-term school holiday and the Easter holidays.
Funding was paid directly to childcare providers, early years providers, schools and colleges. They purchased sufficient vouchers for children and young people whose families are eligible for support through the holidays.
Each eligible child or young person received a £15 voucher per week for Christmas and February, and £24 for the Easter holidays. A family may have received more than one voucher per week, depending on the number of children they have. The scheme provided vouchers to over 34,000 children.
Food and fuel vouchers were made available to partner organisations to distribute, including:
- the Family Support Service
- domestic abuse services
- other agencies working directly with vulnerable households
We gave 430 meal vouchers to Health Visitors to provide to families with children aged under 5 years.
We gave 200 meal vouchers to domestic abuse services to give to families in need.
£100K in grant funding has been approved for Citizens Advice services to provide help with fuel costs. Contact details can be found on the Hampshire connect4communities directory.