Covid Winter Grant Scheme Will Help Support Vulnerable in Central Beds

  • Central Bedfordshire Council receives extra government funding to support vulnerable children and families in this Winter
Funding from the Government has been provided to councils, allowing families struggling to afford food and essentials over the Christmas period to access support in South West Bedfordshire.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will see councils across England share a total of £170 million in additional, ring-fenced funding to help vulnerable families and individuals. Central Bedfordshire Council will be receiving a total of £587,054.00.

This will prevent children from going hungry this winter and ensure local families get the help they need. It builds on the £63 million already provided to councils this year to assist those struggling to buy food and essentials.

Commenting, Andrew Selous MP said, “Throughout the pandemic, the Government has stood squarely behind families who are struggling to make ends meets. No child should ever go hungry, which is why it is very welcome that Central Bedfordshire Council has now received additional support to help people in South West Bedfordshire.

“I will continue to work with the Government to ensure that local families continue to get the support they need, not just through the pandemic.”

The grants are focused to help families buy essentials, with at least 80% of funds ring-fenced to be spent on food, energy and water bills, with 20% available for other associated essential costs. Councils can also offer support to vulnerable individuals and households without children.

And from Easter 2021 the Holiday Activities and Food Fund will be expanded with £220m of funding to cover the major school holidays that year. This will help disadvantaged children get healthy food and take part in fun and enriching activities.

Healthy Start scheme payments are also set to increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from next April, and the Government has pledged additional funding of £16m for the food distribution charity FareShare.

Alongside the range of services funded by the Covid-19 Winter Grant Fund, Central Bedfordshire Council has also set up a process to issue e-vouchers* from Asda, Morrison’s and Tesco, directly to parents/carers, providing £15 per child per week for children eligible for Free School Meals and for 2-year-olds that have claimed Free School Meals (two weeks of Christmas and one spring half term).  For both of these groups, Central Bedfordshire Council will be offering winter fuel support up to £25 per family from January 2021. 

In addition, Central Bedfordshire Council is offering a Holiday Hunger programme to 500 families who do not qualify for Free School Meals but where schools have identified a need.  Each family will receive a healthy food parcel with recipe cards and basic kitchen implements.

Further information can be found on Central Bedfordshire Council’s website  

Vouchers will be distributed via schools and all of our schools have signed up. Schools have communicated the scheme to parents, and Central Bedfordshire Council has also put information on social media. Central Bedfordshire Council has also set up a helpline number for parents to call if they have any queries or issues accessing the vouchers.

*The following quantity of vouchers have been distributed:
Asda = 1500, Morrisons = 1200, Tesco = 2120