Kent County Council has given almost 20,000 food vouchers to vulnerable families to help them feed their children during the half-term holiday.
The council, along with its partners, has already supported thousands of residents through the Kent Together helpline and webpage since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and this service will continue. However, last week KCC launched a dedicated helpline and webpage that families with children eligible to receive Free School Meals could use to quickly and easily request vouchers to spend on food outside of term time.
Leader of Kent County Council, Roger Gough said: “No child should ever go hungry and I am very pleased that we have been able to support some of Kent’s most vulnerable families by providing them with food vouchers to ensure they were able to feed their children during the half-term holiday.
“Our voucher scheme was launched, at very short notice, on the first day of the school holidays, after the Parliamentary debate on Free School Meals.
“We are very pleased to have been able to help so many families during this extremely difficult time and I would like to thank our partners, including district and borough councils, schools, voluntary organisations and the media, for supporting us in sharing the message about the dedicated helpline and webpage so it reached those people who were able to benefit from it.
“This has been an incredibly challenging year and as we begin a second national lockdown I know there will be many people in Kent in need of additional support. Supporting the health and well-being of all our residents, and looking after the most vulnerable in the county, has been our priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and I can assure the people of the Kent this will remain the case going forward.”
KCC’s scheme allowed parents and carers of eligible children to apply for one £15 voucher per child, which could be spent in either Asda or Tesco. The scheme ran between Monday, October 26 and Monday, November 2, and during that time KCC received and processed applications for 19,875 children who were eligible to receive Free School Meals; these families have now received their vouchers. This number is likely to increase as a small number of applications are still being processed.
Although the dedicated helpline and webpage for food voucher applications has now closed, the Kent Together helpline and webpage remain open for anyone in the county who is struggling during the pandemic. Any Kent resident who requires support with acquiring food or collecting medicine or prescriptions, or who has any other urgent needs, can call 03000 41 92 92 or visit www.kent.gov.uk/kenttogether 24 hours a day.