Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Support for families during the summer holidays

Thursday, 14 July 2022

We're outlining how we will support families and children over the six-week summer holidays this year.

We're once again providing food vouchers for families whose children are eligible for free school meals. We're funding this through the Household Support Fund, after we were awarded a further £1.4 million to support households between April and September 2022.

Families will receive a £15 voucher per week for every child eligible for free school meals, totalling £90. They can be spent at supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Aldi, Iceland and Waitrose. In total, around 7,000 children in Central Bedfordshire will receive support during the break.

We were given discretion over how to use the funding, and have chosen to use it to continue to support families with the cost of food (to offset utility household costs) over the summer holiday.

However, the Household Support Fund can also support households in Central Bedfordshire who:

  • are eligible for 2-year-old funding/Early Years Pupil Premium
  • are care leavers (young adults aged between 18 and 25 years old that have previously spent time in care before they were 18 years old)
  • are in receipt of Pension Age Local Council Tax Support
  • are eligible for Local Welfare Provision
  • have an annual income of less than £30,000 and live in a permanent, residential park home or on one of our managed caravan sites
  • is eligible for support and has been contacted by us

Read more about the grant, including who can get it.

Our Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is also returning this summer, providing free, fun activities for children who receive benefits-based free school meals and are in reception through to year 11 at school – a requirement of the Department for Education which funds the programme.

All children who attend face-to-face activities will be provided with healthy snacks and lunch. Sessions are inclusive so are suitable for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and we’ll also be running a series of activities specifically for children with SEND.

Councillor Sue Clark, our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

We are pleased to be able to continue to support households over the summer holidays, both with food vouchers and with free activities for children who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals. We know that parents find our HAF programme very valuable as it gives lots of activities to do over the summer holidays and helps ease worries about costs.

We have made the decision to use our Household Support Fund for food vouchers and it’s designed to support those most in need. The full eligibility criteria are on our website, and I would like to encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible for support through the Household Support Fund to find out more. There are several different types of funding available and it’s important that we support all those who are eligible.

The Household Support Fund replaced the Covid Local Support Grant and is designed to support those most in need during the country’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Between October 2021 and March 2022, our Household Support Fund supported over 14,000 households.