Norfolk County Council is developing a package of support to help give families peace of mind in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months by helping those who need it to have food on the table and other essentials, so every child will be warm and well-fed this winter.
A key part of this support package is about food and the council is working with food voucher company Edenred to provide support for all those eligible for free school meals, children in the early years who receive pupil premium and all of the council’s care leavers during the Christmas holidays.
The voucher scheme will form part of a wider package of support for families experiencing hardship this winter, details of which will be announced next week.
Cllr Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “We know that this is going to be a tough winter for many people in Norfolk, with the impact of Covid hitting many in the pocket.
“There are people in our county who have never needed help before but who have been left experiencing hardship because of the virus.
“The voucher scheme is important, but we know hardship right now is being faced by a wide range of vulnerable households across the county worrying about paying the next utility bill or the next food shop due to the pandemic. Therefore, we will also be launching a wider package of support for winter over the coming weeks.
“I would encourage anyone not to wait if they need support now. Information on how to access support is available at www.norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus or by calling 0344 800 8020.”
The council and Norfolk schools are encouraging more families to register and apply for free school meals, so that they begin to receive support in time for the school holidays.”
To find out if you are eligible and to register for free school meals visit our School meals and milk page.
As part of the wider package of support for families this winter, the council will be further extending the Norfolk Assistance Scheme, which already provides support for food, fuel, clothes and other essential household items to Norfolk’s residents experiencing hardship.
The easiest way to get in touch is to visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/NAS. Those who cannot access the internet, can call 01603 223392 (option 5). If the line is busy, they can leave a message and the team will call back.
Funding for winter support schemes has come from a range of sources:
• A £1m grant from Defra. £200k of this has been allocated to Norfolk Community Foundation and the remainder has been used to supplement the Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS)
• £500k of additional government Covid grant
• £2.7m of Covid Winter Grant, which will be used to fund the Edenred scheme and extend the reach of NAS
• £1.15m of the council’s core budgets – including funding for NAS”