Rotherham Council have announced they are working with schools once again to provide food vouchers to those in receipt of free school meals this October half term.

The Council have previously worked with schools to help feed children over the holiday in an attempt to reduce the stress on local food banks.

This comes after a significant rise in the number of children entitled to free school meals since the beginning of the pandemic. In January 2020, a total of 8,557 children were entitled to free school meals in Rotherham – this figure is now over 11,000.

Councillor Victoria Cusworth, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “It’s in everyone’s interest that all Rotherham’s children are well fed, able to learn and engage in school and live their lives to the full.

“For some of our families this scheme has been a lifeline over the last 12 months, and we know that right now many local families are really feeling the pinch.”

The cost of the scheme will be met by £2.5m from the Hardship Support Fund – part of a one-off government grant support for Rotherham to provide temporary respite for families most severely impacted by the recent £20 per week reduction in Universal Credit, which came into force at the end of September.

The vouchers are worth £15 per child, the typical cost per week of providing school meals.

Individual schools will manage the distribution of the vouchers on behalf of the council.