AN additional £1million is being added to the Covid Winter Grant scheme to support local vulnerable families and individuals who are struggling to cope financially as a direct result of Covid this winter.
Leicester’s scheme began on December 1, 2020, with £1.4m of Government funding to support vulnerable working families and individuals to meet the cost of food, energy, water and other essentials to keep warm and fed over the winter.
The scheme provided food vouchers to those children who would normally receive fee school meals across the Christmas period and February half term break, to ensure no child went hungry. Nearly 15,000 children across the city received support.
Leicester has been in lockdown longer than any other area in the UK, meaning many householders’ incomes have continued to be affected by redundancy or furloughing, even when businesses in other parts of the country were able to open at times last year.
Now, the city council has invested a further £1 million of its own resources into the scheme to ensure it can continue to provide help to as many local people as possible until the scheme ends on March 31, 2021.
So far more than 2,000 claims have already been paid out with over 1,000 further claims currently being assessed.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “People in Leicester have suffered huge disruption to their family lives for nearly 12 months now, longer than anywhere else in the UK, and many are facing real financial uncertainty.
“Last year Marcus Rashford’s fantastic campaign work forced the Government to offer this support, and our additional investment will ensure that help can reach all eligible people who apply.
“We’ve been working closely with schools, the voluntary sector and other partners who can help us identify vulnerable households which need help. In many cases they are households which previously were just about managing financially, but for whom redundancy or reduction in income because of Covid has meant they desperately need financial help.”
The Leicester Covid Winter Grant Scheme is part of a wider winter support package for families and children. It builds upon Leicester’s holiday hunger programme which has provided similar support to thousands of families over many years.
For details of how to apply for help, visit here.