Ahead of the Christmas school holidays, Enfield Council has launched a £1.1 million project to prevent any child going hungry and to tackle food poverty.
The project will ensure that families of children in receipt of free school meals and those in receipt of 15 hours' free childcare will receive financial support over the Christmas holidays and the February half term.
Families who are in receipt of Free School Meals will receive a PayPoint Payment of £30 per child for the Christmas 2020 holiday and £15 per child for the February 2021 half term.
The second aspect of the Tackling Food Poverty Plan will support families and adults on low incomes who are not eligible for Free School Meals but who are struggling with hunger. Enfield Council is working in partnership with local food banks and charities through the newly established Enfield Food Alliance to ensure the network of foodbanks in the borough has access to a good supply of food over the winter months.
A network of Food Collection Hubs have been set up across the borough. Working with schools and other local partners, Enfield Council has identified families that are in need but not currently in receipt of Free School Meals. This is a specific service to support this group of families over the Christmas period, and being delivered by the Voluntary and Community Sector and Enfield Council.
Work is also underway to ensure those in need of benefits and experiencing debt may be considered for extra help with utilities and white goods. The Council is supporting those who are suffering financial hardship through welfare advice and debt support.
Enfield Council’s Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “When there was no Government support for those eligible for free school meals over the October half-term holiday, Enfield Council together with schools and the voluntary sector stepped up to make sure no child went hungry. We know it is not just families in receipt of free school meals that are struggling to make ends meet. Our Poverty and Inequality Commission found that one in three children in Enfield lives in poverty, affecting every aspect of their life including their health and well-being. Enfield Council is committed to making sure no child goes hungry, that’s why we are delivering this Tackling Food Poverty Plan project ahead of the Christmas holiday.”
The Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Cllr Rick Jewell, said: “It is simply not acceptable in 21st century Britain for there to be families who cannot afford to put food on the table. As part of our wider efforts we will be working on a plan with our partners in the Enfield Food Alliance to permanently lift the borough’s poorest families out of food poverty.”
Those eligible for the PayPoint cash payment will be contacted with the details about how to collect the payment.
Under the scheme, funded from the Government's COVID-19 winter grant, the family of each eligible child will receive a cash payment worth £15.00 a week for the holiday period through the PayPoint system which can be cashed in at 140 locations around the borough.