Using government grant funding, the council will provide free school meal vouchers to eligible families for the upcoming October half-term. Some of those families will also receive money towards their household fuel bills.
Over 15,000 children and young people are eligible for the food vouchers, which are worth £15 per child. In addition, families who qualify for means-tested free school meals will receive a further £10 to help with rising fuel costs.
The funding is another step in supporting people across Kirklees who are in need of help.
Clr Shabir Pandor, leader of Kirklees Council, said: “We are determined to tackle inequalities and give all of our children the best possible start in life.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had its biggest impact on those who are disadvantaged. We will make a huge difference by providing free school meal vouchers and making an extra payment to help certain families with their fuel bills.
“When schools are open, eligible children receive meals and nutrition for free – and when the holidays come around, they don’t stop being hungry.
“A healthy diet can make a profound difference to a young person’s wellbeing, both mentally and physically, so we are pleased to provide vouchers once again.
“Food and fuel bills are a serious problem for many families, especially in the holidays when children are at home instead of in school.
“It’s vital that those families know they have our support. At what remains an incredibly tough time, we are standing alongside them.”
Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities, said: “Investing in children and families across Kirklees is undoubtedly the right thing to do.
“We are reducing hardship – which has been worsened by the pandemic – and making sure children can remain well fed, healthy and warm.
“We will work alongside our schools and make sure the money reaches those who need it. We couldn’t run this scheme without the support of schools, so I thank them for their contribution.
“Our package for October half-term is only one aspect of the council’s support for local communities. I would urge anyone who is struggling financially to check what could be available to them.”
All families who receive free school meals will be provided with a food voucher, while those in receipt of certain benefits will receive the additional £10.
To see if you are eligible for free school meals, please visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals
There is also a web page about wider financial support at www.kirklees.gov.uk/coronavirus