The Council’s Executive have approved plans to spend £150,000 to provide Free School Meals to beat hunger during school holidays, and a further £78,000 to fund community support schemes.
Both funds are designed to help alleviate some of the financial pressures which many local residents are expected to experience after the furlough scheme and the £20 Universal Credit uplift end in October.
With number of eligible pupils for Free School Meals having risen from 2,721 in January 2020 to 3,347 in January 2021, the £150,000 investment will benefit those families struggling this winter. This further funding boost will see vouchers provided to eligible pupils from autumn half term in 2021, until the February 2022 half term. It will also include the week in the Christmas holidays which is not already covered by the Holiday Activities and Food Programme Fund.
A further £78,000 will also be provided for three schemes to support communities and residents to access financial and digital support. These include:
- £20,000 for Early Support Fund, for small grants for residents facing financial crisis;
- £35,000 for Early Intervention Project, supporting residents to break the cycle of debt;
- £23,220 for the 100% Digital York Project to develop digital skills and tackle social isolation.
Councillor Nigel Ayre, Liberal Democrat Executive Member of Finance and Performance, commented:
“The pandemic has exposed the financial vulnerability that too many families experience and has highlighted major gaps in Government support. The significant challenges that families in York continue to face have had to be met with an unprecedented response from the Council.
“Whilst this Government is choosing to cut lifeline support such as the Universal Credit uplift, the Lib Dem-led administration is stepping in to ensure that the most vulnerable across the city can receive the support they need.”