Essex County Council is wrapping a protective blanket around the most vulnerable this winter, providing warmth, food, emergency grants and support to residents hit by the pandemic.
A government winter grant of £3.8m is being added to £2.4m existing funding to see struggling families and adults through Christmas and the dark days of winter.
The blanket £6.2m package for December to March 2021 recognises the many ways the pandemic has affected people.
- Free school meals vouchers for all eligible children through the Christmas and half-term school holidays
- Winter warmth packages for vulnerable adults leaving hospital
- Emergency grants for food, heating, energy and water bills and essential household goods for people struggling to pay bills
- Home-Start packages for parents of 0-5 year old children, targeted at the most deprived wards across the county
- Support for carers and people with learning disabilities
- Christmas food and gift hampers for care leavers
- Grants for local community food initiatives nominated by local Essex county councillors
Support families and vulnerable children
The package also provides funding to increase capacity and resource for food banks and food delivery projects, housing and debt advice, mental health, domestic abuse and drug and alcohol support. Both holiday hunger and activity programmes are set to be expanded further to reach even more vulnerable children and support their families.
In addition, an offer for school children during the Easter, Summer, and Christmas 2021 holidays is currently being developed and details will follow.
We will do all we can
Cllr Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Essex County Council said:
Winter can be tough at the best of times and every penny counts for families at Christmas. Clearly, this year more than ever, people are struggling financially or emotionally due to the pandemic. So, we are using all the resources we can to put a protective blanket of winter support around those families who need it most.
The whole council is behind this effort to support those who are struggling this winter, with help to heat their home, put food on the table and assist with key bills. We will do all we can for our vulnerable families.
How to access support during the pandemic
For information about how to access support during the pandemic see essex.gov.uk/topic/support-for-residents.
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