Supporting vulnerable people and families this winter

Families with children eligible for Free School Meals are being given supermarket vouchers for the Christmas school holiday period


Release date: 18 December 2020

West Sussex County Council has been allocated £1,989,591.80 from the government as part of the COVID Winter Grant Scheme. This funding will be used to support individuals and families most in need in West Sussex this winter.

A large proportion of the funding, £675,000 has been allocated to support children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) over the Christmas and February school holidays. Eligible families are entitled to a £30 food voucher, distributed by their school, which can be used in a variety of supermarkets to cover the two-week December break. This mirrors the national approach used during the Easter and summer holidays and will be replicated for the February half-term.

The West Sussex Community Hub will be on hand throughout the school holidays to help resolve any queries with vouchers once the schools break up for Christmas.

Families with children who aren’t eligible for FSM but who are experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to contact the Community Hub in confidence to seek practical support and advice. The Hub will be open seven days a week (including the Christmas Bank Holidays) between 8am-8pm on 033 022 27980.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities, said: “We are committed to continuing to support those who are most in need through this pandemic. The arrangements we have put in place are designed to ensure that the right support is available now for families and individuals who are at risk of or are experiencing financial hardship.

"The county-wide response to Covid-19 has been incredible and by continuing to work together in this way, we can help keep West Sussex safe. I would urge anyone in need of support to contact our Community Hub.”

The County Council will continue to work in partnership with district and boroughs councils, community and faith leaders as well as health, social care and education professionals to reach those experiencing hardship, especially hard to reach groups. We are working with community-based organisations who already provide hardship assistance to people in respect of food, household items and utilities payments to ensure that individuals already accessing such support will benefit.

Residents can find information about how COVID-19 is affecting West Sussex and services, as well as information on the current restrictions on the COVID-19 section of our website.

Further information on how the COVID Winter Grant Scheme will be used to help residents will be released shortly.

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