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Holiday school meal vouchers return for February Half-Term for Harlow children

Education / Wed 8th Feb 2023 at 12:32pm

FREE school meal vouchers will be available for around 50,000 eligible pupils across Essex this February half-term (13-17 Feb) thanks to renewed funding from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The funding of £750,000 has been allocated by the Council from the Household Support Fund grant it receives from the Department for Work and Pensions. The fund aims to support those in most need this winter with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other essentials.

The scheme will be coordinated by Wonde, a national provider of free school meal vouchers.

Vouchers will be sent to parents of eligible children and young people via their school, college or early years setting before the holidays start. They are worth £15 a week per child and can be used to buy food in most supermarkets.

Essex County Council has also allocated £203,000 of its own funding to fund 12,800 free places for children at Active Essex’s ActivAte holiday clubs during the February May and October half-term holidays.

This February there will be 83 clubs offering fun physical activity, food education and healthy meals, with 27 of the clubs offering special support for SEND pupils or mental wellbeing support. The clubs are open to young people eligible for free school meals, as well as children from working families who may be struggling financially and require extra childcare support.

Cllr Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community, Equality, Partnerships and Performance, said: “Once again we are able to extend our free school meals scheme into the half-term holidays, thanks to a further round of the government funding, via the Household Support Grant.

“Our free Essex Activate Holiday Clubs are running once again and are part of our Levelling Up programme. The sessions provide children with the opportunity to take part in fun activities during the school break, whilst also helping parents with the cost of childcare, helping to alleviate financial pressures for families.”

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