Vulnerable Oldham families to receive February half term food vouchers

Thousands of Oldham families will get financial help for food this February half term, Oldham Council has confirmed.

Food vouchers of £15 for each eligible child and young person will be available for families of children eligible for means tested Free School Meals, families on low incomes with pre-school children aged 0-5 (using Free School Meal eligibility criteria) and for Care Leavers under 25.

Young people eligible for free school meals at Oldham College and Oldham Sixth Form College will also be supported as part of the initiative.

In total, over 17,000 Oldham children and young people will be offered this much needed help to have enough food over the half term break via vouchers that can be used at local supermarkets.

The scheme is carrying on the good work from Christmas when the council used a significant part of the £1 million Government Winter Support Grant to ensure more than 9,000 vulnerable families with children and young people received £30 worth of food vouchers over the two-week period.

Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford has campaigned to ensure young eligible people are fed during holiday times and has helped signpost Oldham people to relevant services via his social media feeds.

Families do not need to apply for the vouchers, and the council say it is working with Oldham schools and colleges to identify eligible families and issue the vouchers through an online system that was successfully used at Christmas.

The families with pre-school children and care leavers will be written to directly with the vouchers.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Oldham Council Deputy Leader, said: “In these incredibly difficult times we have managed to secure enough money to ensure our vulnerable children and young people will have vital food supplies.

“We know that, although this isn’t anywhere near the amount of money needed to support those most in need, particularly with the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, this funding will go some way towards ensuring no child in Oldham goes hungry this winter.

“We will therefore continue to pressure central Government to ensure they do not forget Oldham and its residents and call for fair funding for our borough.

“And the council would also like to remind people there are a range of benefits they can apply for to help this winter and that are means tested.”

For more details, go to https://www.oldham.gov.uk/wecanhelp For people in emergency need, there is the Oldham Council emergency helpline - which is 0161 770 7007.

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