Last updated 16 December 2021
Stockport Council pledges wraparound support for families this Christmas
More than 8,000 children in receipt of income-based free school meals will receive support from Stockport Council this Christmas.
The council is offering families in the borough a voucher to the value of £30 per child over the Christmas holidays to help with the cost of food and other essential living costs. The vouchers will be sent out from 16th December.
The scheme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Household Support Grant (HSG). Families do not need to apply, and will receive the vouchers automatically if they had an active free school meals claim on 3rd December.
The council is adopting a digital-first approach. Where the council holds an email address for the family, an electronic voucher will be provided via Post Office Payout (changed from Pay Point). Please check the opening times of your local Post Office before going to redeem, as these may differ over the Christmas period. Where the council does not hold a valid email address, the parent will be sent Aldi vouchers via the post. Both vouchers will have information on how to redeem them.
Councillor Amanda Peers, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods, commented: “We are pleased to be able to offer this additional support to families in Stockport again this school holidays, to complement the October half term and summer offerings. We hope the additional support of the HSG vouchers will go some way to help with the additional pressures felt by low income families over the Christmas period.”
The HSG vouchers are just one aspect of support available for families in Stockport this winter. The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is running once again, offering children in receipt of income-based free school meals access to free of charge meals and activity programmes run by childcare providers across the borough. Children who are not in receipt of free school meals can still access these clubs for a small fee. For more information on the Stockport HAF programme, go online.
For those not eligible for HSG vouchers, other support is available. Your Local Pantry is operated by Stockport Homes and helps people access affordable food from 5 locations across the borough. Memberships range from standard (£3.50 per week) to family (£6.50 per week). In return members can choose up to 10 items (standard) or 20 items (family). This includes a mixture of non-perishable items alongside fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled and frozen items. Over Christmas, the Pantry are offering members bonus food items in addition to their usual shop including fruit, veg and Christmas meal packs. All Pantry locations will be open as usual until Friday 24 December. Brinnington, Mottram Street and Bridgehall Pantries will be open on 30th Dec from 10am - 1pm for any pantry member to access. Normal hours resume on 4 January 2022. For more information and to sign up, visit https://www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk/.
For those with children under the age of 4 or pregnant, NHS Healthy Start vouchers may also be available. These can support with the cost of food or milk to help you and your child. Find out more information and check your eligibility via the website or by calling the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823.
Councillor Tom McGee, Deputy Leader of Stockport Council, said: “No one should feel alone this Christmas, as there is plenty of support available to our residents. Whether you require advice about money worries or some extra support with feeding your family, the council and our wonderful voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector is here for you. I urge anyone who requires additional support this school holidays to get in touch with a relevant organisation.”
Councillor Colin Foster, Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services and Education at Stockport Council added: “We are committed to ensuring that all children and families feel supported and happy here in Stockport. The HAF programme, coupled with our HSG vouchers offering, allows children to enjoy a relaxed and safe Christmas, and should ensure that no child goes without. Coupled with our additional support services available for families in need, we feel that this Christmas we can offer a wide package of support to help children in Stockport.”
If you’re a Stockport resident, there is plenty of additional support available. Visit the Stockport Council website to access support and advice.
For more information on the Christmas support vouchers scheme, please visit www.stockport.gov.uk/free-school-meals/holiday-support-voucher. For enquiries about your voucher, please visit the web enquiry form on this page (open from the date of the voucher issue).