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Council Distributes More Food and Energy Vouchers

Cheshire East Council is distributing more food and energy vouchers to vulnerable children and families ahead of the February half term.

With the help of schools, colleges, early years settings and other family support services, more than 11,000 vouchers have been distributed to date, funded from Cheshire East’s share of the government’s £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which launched in December last year. 

The fund, which ends on 31 March 2021, aims to support those most in need across England with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other essentials.

In addition to the vouchers, families in need are now also able to receive refurbished white goods such as cookers, fridges, washing machines and microwaves. The council recognises that for some families if, for example, their cooker stops working, they may not be able to afford to replace it. 

More than 9,000 vulnerable children and young people were identified by the council, including those eligible for income-related free school meals. These families received their first batch of vouchers mid-December to cover the Christmas school holidays.

Children eligible for free school meals during term time have continued to be supported by schools, either by healthy food parcels or supermarket vouchers. 

Councillor Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council

Councillor Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “Vulnerable children and their families will be supported over the half term with supermarket and energy vouchers from this vital fund.

“Vouchers will be delivered, via schools and other children’s services from this week and we have enhanced this fund through support with fridges, cookers and other household appliances to vulnerable children and their families.

“I’d like to thank all the teams, including our schools, colleges and early years providers, who have worked tirelessly to get this support to the children and families most in need.

“This grant expires at the end of March and we are already working behind the scenes to ensure that children and families are supported during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays from the government’s holiday activities and food programme.”

One parent said: “We are incredibly grateful for your help; it feels like a weight has been lifted.”

Another professional said: “Thank you so much for taking the time to help our families. I really appreciate it!”

Any families in need are asked to speak to someone they are in touch with, with such as a GP, teacher or support worker, who can request the vouchers on their behalf. 

For more information on the scheme, visit the Cheshire East web site.