27/10/2020 - Permalink

Shropshire Council announces Christmas scheme to ensure no child goes hungry

Related topics: Children's services / Partner organisations

No child will go hungry this Christmas with Shropshire Council announcing a major scheme to provide meals for all in need.

The council’s Cabinet has agreed a package to ensure the near 5,000 children who receive free school meals in the county will receive either vouchers or food parcels over the holiday period.

The council has been working hard to ensure our most vulnerable children have received food parcels today to cover this half term break, while food banks have been fully stocked to ensure nobody will go without.

But with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, the council has moved to ensure a robust scheme is in place ready for the holiday period over Christmas and New Year.

Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said:

“I am pleased to confirm that as a Cabinet we have taken the decision to ensure that all children in Shropshire who are in receipt of free school meals will receive the help they need throughout the entire Christmas holiday period.

“We have been reacting to a fast-moving situation this week to ensure that everybody in the county who needs help during this October half-term will also be able to get the assistance they need.

“Our staff are working hard to ensure the most vulnerable children in the county will receive food parcels. Delivery of these parcels begins today.

“We have also been working closely with food banks in the county to ensure they are fully stocked and anybody who needs help this week will be able to get it.

“This is a challenging time and we have come together as a council to put a robust plan in place that will ensure nobody needs to go hungry.

“The scheme over Christmas will take the form of either vouchers or parcels – we are still in discussions at the moment, as the rurality of the county provides an extra challenge.

“More details will be announced around our Christmas scheme in the coming days.”

Shropshire Council has given extra support to community provision through the county’s foodbanks so that they are better able to meet greater demand in communities.

This has been in the form of both cash grants and the collection of surplus food provided by DEFRA, which the council has then stored for free and distributed to foodbanks as needed. This has put many of them into a surplus food position, and the council will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days.

The council has also recently made further grants to Shropshire’s Food Poverty Alliance from the DEFRA Emergency Fund. The Alliance is a co-operative of organisations including Shropshire Council working together on food poverty solutions.

One of these grants is to maintain the work of the Alliance and the development of community incentives; the second grant is again to support the county’s food banks with additional resource.

Where the council is able to identify that the effects of coronavirus are wider than food, where jobs or finances have been adversely affected, we are referring families to our Welfare Support Team within customer services, who have the COVID-19 Emergency Fund from which to consider extra help.

People who are in hardship can contact the Welfare Support Team on 0345 678 9078.

The council has also received a number of offers of help in the form of donations: we have directed those organisations and individuals to their local food bank.