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Support for families extended

by Gemma Melling

Knowsley Council will continue to provide support for families whose children are eligible for free school meals during school holidays, it has been agreed.

Councillors met on Wednesday to consider how best to support communities following the announcement that the Government’s Household Support Fund would continue for a further six months.

Since 2020, Knowsley Council has been helping low-income families with the cost of feeding their children during school holidays, by providing supermarket vouchers to families with children who normally receive free school meals.

The continuation of the Household Support Fund also allows the council to increase the support it is able to offer to residents in need of food and essentials, or those struggling with fuel and utility bills.

Since the COVID pandemic and during the cost of living crisis, Knowsley Council has made supporting residents in need a top priority – offering an extended model of financial support to residents. This support has been funded by the Council’s own investment of over £4.9m in a Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund, and was complemented by the application of the Government’s Household Support Fund, which had been due to end from April 2024.

At Knowsley’s Cabinet meeting, councillors heard that, as a result of the Fund being extended, the Council now expects to receive an additional £1.862m and agreed that this should be used to support families of free school meal eligible children and the provision of food and essentials for people in need.

The Council has also agreed to create additional long-term support for people in the borough struggling with the cost of living. A new team will be created to help support residents, with a focus on early intervention to prevent families reaching crisis point.