Kirklees Council is to provide food vouchers to children on free school meals over the summer holidays.

The council is responding to the on-going cost-of-living crisis by providing £70-worth of vouchers for all children and young people who are eligible for means-tested free school meals.

Around 19,000 vouchers are set to be given out, which means an investment of over £1.3 million to help families tackle the spiralling cost of essential items like food and energy.

The cost-of-living vouchers will be provided in time for the school holidays, which are widely recognised as an expensive time of year due to children and young people being at home.

Council leader Clr Shabir Pandor said: “We know times are tough for so many people and we are determined to support local families. Tackling inequality and helping our children to enjoy the best start in life are major priorities for this council.

“The vouchers will help people to pay their bills and prevent school-holiday hunger, also boosting mental and physical wellbeing.

“We want children and young people to be fed, happy and healthy so that they return to school ready to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities, said: “This continues the extra support we have been giving to families who are eligible for free school meals.

“Many will find it to be a vital lifeline at a time when financial hardship is a huge issue, both locally and nationally.

“We are helping those who are most in need and, at the same time, supporting our young learners to fulfil their potential in life.

“As we end the school year, I also want to say a personal thank you to our schools and education settings – they do incredible work across our communities and really do make a profound difference.”

The council will administer the voucher scheme in conjunction with schools and settings, with funding from the Department for Work and Pensions.

There is lots of support and advice available for people who may be struggling financially. Visit the cost of living page on the council website.

In conjunction with partners and community groups, the council is also operating the Holiday Activities and Food programme during the school holidays.

This provides a wide range of activities for children who receive free school meals, while paid-for places are also available for non-eligible families.

You can find out more on the holiday activities web page.