Kirklees Council is spending over £1.2 million to help struggling families with their food and fuel bills over the winter months.
Those who qualify will receive payments to support them through the school holiday periods in December and February.
The funding, which is from a central government grant, will go to all Kirklees families who are eligible for means-tested free school meals.
They will receive £50 per eligible child for the December school break and a further £25 for February half-term – making sure the financially vulnerable do not get left behind.
The council has been allocated money through the Government’s Household Support Fund, which aims to support people in need over the next few months.
Kirklees Cabinet members have agreed that £1.2 million will be spent on the vouchers for food and fuel costs, with the remaining £2 million going into the council’s Local Welfare Provision – a wider scheme for vulnerable people who are in short-term crisis with food, benefits, fuel costs and Covid-19 assistance.
Council leader Clr Shabir Pandor said: “Over 16,000 children in Kirklees receive means-tested free school meals, so the impact on those families will be huge. This decision highlights that supporting children and tackling inequality are top priorities for this council.
“Free school meal vouchers have been a vital lifeline during the pandemic and have addressed holiday hunger across our communities. By topping them up with a contribution towards fuel bills, we are also helping people to stay warm, safe and healthy during the winter months.”
Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities, said: “It’s essential that children go back to school after the holidays feeling happy and ready to learn. This improves their long-term outcomes and means young people are equipped to fulfil their potential.
“We will join with our schools – who have done incredible work throughout the pandemic – to ensure all eligible families receive their payments. We don’t want anyone to miss out if their circumstances have changed, so I would urge people to check what kinds of support are available.”
Clr Paul Davies, Cabinet member for corporate, said: “In addition to £1.2 million of food and fuel vouchers, we are pleased to be adding more funds into Local Welfare Provision. This has helped many Kirklees residents to get through short-term problems at a time when financial hardship has increased.
“Local Welfare Provision supports families and individuals with essential items, as well as offering a wide range of valuable advice. It helps the people who are most in need, reduces disadvantage and makes a truly positive change in many lives.”
For more information about free school meals, Local Welfare Provision and financial support, please visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/coronavirus