Struggling households are set to receive extra financial support through North Tyneside Council this winter.
The council has received funding from the national Covid Winter Grant Fund to help some of the families who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Families who are in receipt of free school meals will be issued with a £60 voucher to help manage their additional expenses during the Christmas, half term, and Easter breaks when children don’t receive free school meals.
The council is working closely with local schools to ensure the support reaches people in time for Christmas, although the voucher will be valid until March 31 2021 and will be accepted in most supermarkets both in-store and online.
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “The pandemic has hit some of our families very hard in North Tyneside and I hope that this will make things a little easier for them. I’d like to thank our local schools for the role they are playing in making sure the support gets to the people who need it most.”
Councillor Bruce Pickard, Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “We know that this has been a very difficult year for many people across our borough, and we have worked hard to ensure that families and individuals who need our help get as much support as we can give.
“In addition to the support we are providing through our Poverty Intervention Fund, the government has provided a Covid Winter Grant to help our most vulnerable adults and children with the cost of food and other essential items over the winter period.
“While we are working closely with our local schools to get this support out to families over Christmas, this is not to replace free school meals for this period. Families will have three months in which to spend this voucher and they may well choose to save it until the New Year.
“I am proud that we have been able to provide additional support where it is so urgently needed, during a time of year that should be full of joy rather than anxiety about where the next meal is coming from.”
The council is writing to eligible families now to let them know how the scheme works.
Families will then be contacted by Edenred, a voucher distribution company, to let them know how to register and download their vouchers.