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Cornwall Council acts to ensure children entitled to free school meals are supported at Christmas

Cornwall Council has acted to ensure Government funding reaches families in need of support in time for the Christmas holidays next month.

The authority has received £1.831m from Westminster in the ‘Covid Winter Grant Scheme’, with 80% ringfenced for supporting low-income families with food and bills up until March 2021.

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To ensure that these families are not left short during the festive season, £399,000 is being allocated to schools.

This funding will ensure that the 13,300 children in Cornwall entitled to benefit-related free school meals are able to receive a voucher for £15 a week over the two-week holiday.

It will be distributed by schools via vouchers or gift cards, which can be used in shops or supermarkets local to the schools, and has been drawn up following consultation with the schools themselves.

Cllr Sally Hawken, portfolio holder for schools, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to take this decisive action quickly, and that we are able to support vulnerable children through these tough times.

“We were very aware that there is very little time to organise a scheme ahead of Christmas, so we knew we needed to act.

“By doing this, we are giving our schools the time needed to be able to distribute vouchers before the end of term.

“I must pay tribute to Marcus Rashford and the campaign work he has undertaken to raise this important issue and to keep it in the public eye.

“To have made the Government listen and to perform a u-turn on this vital support is a real achievement, and I am pleased that Westminster finally listened to sense.

“This has been a tough year for us all, and especially for the most vulnerable in our society, so it was vital we could offer this support which will at least relieve some of the pressure during the holiday season.”

Posted November 24, 2020