By Hayley O'Keeffe - 11th December 2020 2:00pm
Buckinghamshire Council is launching its winter food voucher scheme this week to give vulnerable families support over the Christmas holidays.
This is being funded from the government COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme and the first part of the scheme will be to provide food vouchers.
It is being run through schools and targeted at families with children and young people eligible for free school meals.
Schools will be contacting parents before the end of term to give them the details of how to claim and activate the £30 digital food vouchers which can be used at Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose or Marks and Spencer Food. They can split their voucher across multiple supermarkets, if they wish.
Councillor Anita Cranmer, cabinet member for education and skills, said: "Christmas can be an expensive holiday for families, and that is particularly so this year with the impact of COVID. These vouchers will be a helping hand to those families who need additional support over the Christmas holidays to buy food. I want to thank our schools for working with us on this to ensure we get the vouchers out to families before the end of term."
The Council has also set up a Helping Hand phone line to provide support to households worried about food or warmth over the winter season.
This help may come from the voluntary and community sector or directly from the council.
Councillor Gareth Williams, cabinet member for communities and public health, said: "Buckinghamshire has a strong voluntary and community sector which has been active in supporting families and households during COVID.
"A number of groups are running additional programmes over the Christmas period. To find out what is available in your area, please put your postcode into the online directory directory.buckinghamshire.gov.uk."
Anyone worried about food or warmth over the Christmas holidays, and not sure what help is available, can contact the council's Helping Hand support line on 01296 531151 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This line is open 9am — 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am — 5pm on Friday. The support line is closed on Christmas day, Boxing Day, Monday 28th December and New Year's day but the out of hours team can be contacted in emergencies on 0800 999 7677.
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