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Vulnerable Oldham families to receive food vouchers for Easter holidays

Thousands of Oldham families will get financial help for food in the two-week Easter school holidays.

Food vouchers of £15 per week (totalling £30) 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.

Oldham Council also says that young people eligible for Free School Meals at Oldham College and Oldham Sixth Form College will also be supported. 

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

The council also used a significant part of the £1 million Government Winter Support Grant to ensure that vulnerable families with children and young people received £45 worth of food vouchers over both the Christmas and February half term holiday periods. 

The authority also says it is working with schools and community organisations to run its holiday activity schemes, which ensure some of the borough's most vulnerable families get access to both engaging activities and food.

Families do not need to apply for the vouchers, and the council is working with Oldham schools and colleges to identify eligible families and issue the vouchers through the same online system that has been used previously. 

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: “Despite the Government’s continued lack of long term planning around free school meals in holiday times, we have managed to secure enough money to ensure our vulnerable children and young people will have vital food supplies this Easter.

“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.

“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 – particularly around food for vulnerable young people in holiday periods."

For people in emergency need, there is the Oldham Council emergency helpline on 0161 770 7007.

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