A new £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme will be run by councils in England, to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter.
Surrey County Council will receive over £2.1 million share of the £170m Covid Winter Grant scheme.
- Holiday Activities and Food programme to be expanded, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021
- Healthy Start payments set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021
- Suite of measures represents long-term plan to help tackle poor health, hunger and education.
The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Local Authorities will receive the funding next month.
The scheme will allow councils to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals, as well as provide food for children who need it over the holidays. Local councils understand which groups need support, and are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided – which is why they will distribute the funds, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals for disadvantaged children during term-time.
The Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018, will also be expanded across England next year.
It will cover Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021, and cost up to £220m. It will be available to children in every local authority in England, building on previous programmes – including this summers, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.
Healthy Start scheme payments are also set to increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from next April, 2021.
This scheme supports pregnant women or those with children under four who have a low income and are in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. This will help people boost the long-term health of their children.
The Government has also pledged additional funding of £16m for food distribution charities, with conversations with FareShare and others ongoing as to how this is allocated.