Council Vouchers Help Struggling Families with the Rising Costs of Eating and Heating this Christmas
- Food and heating vouchers are now being distributed by the Council ahead of the Christmas break
- Support for families and individuals more vital than ever with the cost of heating homes and food prices both rising fast
VOUCHERS to support families and individuals struggling with the costs of feeding their children and heating their homes this winter are being distributed by the Council ahead of the two-week Christmas school holidays.
A total of 5,661 children in Reading who need help accessing regular meals and are eligible for support during the up and coming Christmas break are being sent food vouchers worth £40 (£20 a week). They are being distributed by the Council-owned children’s company, Brighter Futures for Children, to families with school age children eligible for Pupil Premium Free School Meals, vulnerable two year olds and care leavers.
Reading Borough Council already holds a list of families eligible for the support and is contacting them directly. The same support will be available during the half term break in February.
Reading Borough Council is also providing support with energy costs through the cold winter months with an energy voucher scheme. Vouchers to the value of £49 are being distributed by the Council to individuals that are part of the council tax reduction scheme. A total of 5,922 people in Reading are eligible. Families with children that are part of the council tax reduction scheme will receive one £98 voucher. 1,948 families with children are eligible.
The Council has written to all eligible recipients with details on how to claim their energy voucher. Residents who have not received a letter but believe they could be eligible for support, are asked to contact the Council on 0118 937 3797
Reading Borough Council Leader, Councillor Jason Brock, said:
“For many families this will be the most difficult winter yet. The cost of living is rising fast, with basic essentials like the cost of heating homes and the price of food both increasing. In most cases, wages are failing to keep up. This means there will be more families in Reading feeling the pinch this year, especially when their children are not in a school environment, and more residents struggling to heat their homes during the cold winter months. The Council’s food vouchers scheme and energy scheme are intended to support these families and individuals during these testing times.”
Liz Terry, Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said:
“As difficult as it can be to imagine, there are children in Reading who go hungry when they do not have regular access to free school meals. There can be a number of reasons for this happening, but families living in poverty at a time when the cost of living is rising fast, is increasingly behind it.
"Essential food vouchers worth £40 are now being distributed to families over the two week break which I hope will provide some much needed help over the Christmas holidays.”
Di Smith, Board Chair at Brighter Futures for Children, added:
“We are pleased to be co-ordinating the food voucher scheme for families in Reading over the Christmas holidays. It is essential that children and young people continue to receive nutritious meals when they are not in school. These vouchers will provide important support to Reading families at a time of year where severe pressure can be placed on the household budget.”
Funding for the scheme is through the new Household Support Funding scheme, previously known as the Covid Local Support Grant and the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. The funding amount allocated to the Council by the Department for Work and Pensions is £ £1,130,648.94. The fund must be spent between 6th October and 31st March 2022.