Thousands of Croydon families with children on free school meals will get extra money towards food and household bills this Christmas through a new grant.
Croydon Council has been allocated a government-funded Covid-19 winter grant to help local people who are struggling to pay for food and energy bills, with £15 allocated per eligible child per week over the Christmas holidays via their schools.
Over the last week, schools have begun to directly contact parents of children on free school meals about the top-up money.
Croydon’s funding comes as part of £170m for councils nationwide by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help people hit hard by the economic impact of Covid-19, especially families.
At least 80% of each council’s allocation has to be spent on contributing towards the food and utility costs of households with children.
The DWP grant will be made available to Croydon Council in three rounds of funding – half of the £1.2m now, a further 25% by early March and a final quarter in late April or early May.
The council can also give eligible residents help with one-off emergency living expenses or food bank referrals through its Croydon Discretionary Support scheme. More information can be accessed via the council website.
“A lot of local parents struggle to afford the full cost of feeding their families and warming their homes at this time of year, and the economic impact of Covid-19 has made it even tougher for many.
“On top of the welfare support that the council’s Gateway service already gives to Croydon residents in need, we have been working with schools to make sure this funding gets to the right people.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for homes and Gateway services