IWC – Funding agreed to help families facing hardship during the summer school holidays

In News by Bembridge PC

This summer will see a £460,000 boost to the support available during the school holidays for vulnerable families and children on the Island, and the voluntary organisations that support them.

The distribution of the grant funding is being organised through the ‘connect4communities’ programme, which is led by the Isle of Wight Council in collaboration with community partners such as schools and Early Years providers, as well as voluntary and charity organisations.

Community grants are also available to fund food and utilities support for families in need.

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet lead for children’s services, education and skills, said: “I am really pleased we are able to continue helping families who are struggling during these difficult times.

“Even though coronavirus restrictions are gradually easing, the pandemic has meant that many people are dealing with challenges they have never had to face before.

“We know that the school holidays can be a particularly difficult time for families, when these pressures are heightened, and want to help ensure children and young people do not go without necessities.”

The funding has been awarded to the authority by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) under the COVID Local Support Grant Scheme.

Free school meal and food vouchers

  • A £365,175 grant to schools, colleges and early years providers for them to purchase and provide one £15 food voucher per child per week for the summer holiday period, for all eligible children.
  • An estimated 4,869 children will receive these vouchers.

Support for care leavers

  • Up to £11,250 in funding for Children’s Services to purchase one £75 food or fuel voucher for each care leaver not in receipt of vouchers through the free school meal voucher offer.
  • An estimated 150 care leavers will receive these vouchers.

Young Carers

  • A grant of up to £2,000 to the YMCA to support young carers not in receipt of vouchers through the free school meal voucher offer.

Fuel support for households

  • A grant of £5,000 to Citizens Advice to financially support households with fuel bills over the summer period.

Beaulieu House, Newport

  • A grant of £1,500 to deliver targeted food and fuel support to the families it works with.

Community grant awards

  • Community grants totalling up to £55,000 will help support families, with food, energy and water bills.
  • Voluntary and charitable organisations who understand the needs of their communities are encouraged to apply. Examples of how these grants could be used include activity and food packs, fuel vouchers as well as food boxes.
  • Schools and other education settings can apply to this grant to support families who do not necessarily meet the criteria for the free school meal vouchers.

Further information for providers who are interested in finding out more about applying for a community grant is available on the connect4communities website.