Last week, Parliament rejected the motion to provide food support to vulnerable children during the half term school holidays. And that is in spite of evidence that COVID-19 is driving a surge in new registrations for free school meals (FSM). Data collected as part of the joint #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign with Marcus Rashford, acquired through a sample survey conducted by Childwise, shows that 29% (equivalent to 2.2 million children) of children aged 8-17 years old are registered for Free School Meals. An astounding 42% of these children (900,000) are newly registered to the scheme.
Food businesses, community groups and local councils have now stepped up to fill the gaps for families depending on Free School Meals. Oxford City Council will provide food vouchers to families in Oxford that cannot access food banks or larders, or are in particular and urgent need, during half term (Monday 26 October to Friday 30 October). If you are struggling to feed your children during half term, please contact the City Council by calling 01865 249811. Read more
Download lists of providers of free food services in Oxford City, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire Districts here:
Emergency Assistance for Food Funds West Oxfordshire
Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire can provide support for those in urgent need of food with access to food vouchers through West Oxfordshire DC’s Food and Essential Supplies scheme. They can also help with support for Electricity Top-Ups for those on a pre-payment meter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherwell Hardship Fund
Families experiencing hardship can apply to the hardship fund from Cherwell District Council and Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire here.
NHS Healthy Start Vouchers
Pregnant or have children under the age of 4? You could qualify to receive free vouchers every week to spend on basic foods such as milk, fruit & vegetables, pulses, infant formula & vitamins.
Pregnant women & parents with children between the age of 1 & 4 yrs are eligible for vouchers worth £3.10 per week, or children up to age 1 £6.20 per week.
To be eligible the person must be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years and be in receipt of:
- Income Support, or
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
- Child Tax Credit (with a family income of £16,190 or less per year), or
- Universal Credit (with a family take-home pay of £408 or less per month).
You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of those benefits or tax credits.
To find out more, check if you qualify & register please click on the link below https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/