Team effort to support vulnerable families in summer holidays

Somerset is once again pulling together to ensure food is delivered to the most vulnerable families in the county during the summer holidays.

Free school meals vouchers will be available for eligible children during the break following a recent Government announcement, and Somerset County Council is working with partner agencies and volunteers to support families who live too far from anywhere that will take the vouchers.

Families of children who are eligible for free school meals are entitled to the vouchers under the scheme, which was designed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The vouchers ensure those children continue to get a healthy lunch even if they can’t attend school. They are distributed by schools and can be spent in local supermarkets. The scheme has been extended to cover the summer holidays.

Most families can reach the supermarkets that are part the scheme but in some remote areas of Somerset it might not be possible due to distance and lack of transport.

To help these parents the Council has partnered with the Community Council for Somerset Village Agents who are making sure they get their food by:

  • Working with families to secure online delivery slots
  • If families are unable to travel or if they can’t get online Village Agents will work with families to get their shopping with the help of a neighbour or volunteer.

“Thanks to great partnership working and wonderful volunteers we’ll be able to ensure that children who would normally have free schools meal can also be supported during the summer holidays,” said Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s lead member for Children and Families.

“The vouchers are a lifeline, but some families would really struggle to use them without the support of the Village Agents and local volunteers. We’re extremely grateful for their efforts – they have helped so many people in so many ways over the last few months.”

Schools can liaise with the local village agent by visiting https://somersetagents.org/find-an-agent/

Submitted by Communications