Camden Council steps in to ensure no child goes hungry this half-term

Children and families in Camden who receive benefits will all get an offer of support from the Council to buy food over the school holidays.

Covid-19 has pushed many families in Camden into financial hardship, and as Government continues to fail to provide support for the most vulnerable in our communities, the Council will step in.

Vouchers for supermarkets will be made available to all Camden families with children up to the age of 18 and in receipt of benefits for the October half-term break (26 to 30 October). The Council is going beyond those children just in receipt of free school meals, recognising that Covid-19 has made affording food for many families more difficult. The Council hopes this will help up to 6,800 families, with 13,000 children.

The Council is working with our schools, early years and children’s services to issue the vouchers directly to families early next week. If families who meet the criteria have not been contacted and received a voucher by the end of Wednesday, 28 October 2020, they should call the Council on 020 7974 4444 (option 9). Families who live outside the borough will be linked up with support services in their home boroughs.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of the Council, said: “We are committed as a Council and as a community to giving every child in Camden the best start in life – and that means a life free of hunger and worry about getting enough food to learn and grow. In a borough with as much wealth as Camden, we must step up to our shared responsibility to care for every child who grows up here – particularly the most vulnerable. Child hunger won’t be solved by food vouchers, and Government must take action with Councils to address the root causes – poverty and entrenched inequality. Whilst we wait for Government, we will step in to ensure that all children at risk can get food whilst schools are closed for the half-term break.”

Councillor Angela Mason, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families, said: “Nearly a third of pupils in Camden are entitled to free school meals, which is why we must do everything possible to support them, especially during these challenging times.

“The Government have shirked this responsibility and, with the pandemic putting more financial pressure on many of our families, this is absolutely the right thing to do to ensure no one is left behind. No child will go hungry in Camden this half term, and we will make sure every child who needs our support will get it.”

Camden Council would like to place on record its wholehearted support for footballer Marcus Rashford’s End Child Food Poverty Campaign.

How eligible families can get their vouchers

If we hold a family’s email address:

Families will receive two emails. The first email will arrive on Friday, 23 October 2020. It will ask families to look out for an email from Camden’s ‘Family Fund’ containing the voucher, arriving week commencing 26 October 2020.

Family Fund will then issue the vouchers direct to families early next week (most likely on Tuesday 27 October), also by email. We are asking families to please look out for this email in their inbox.

If we do not hold a family’s email address:

We will send families’ vouchers by post. Family Fund will issue the vouchers direct to families this week by post. These will arrive from Wednesday, 28 October onwards.

Allocation of vouchers:

  • A family with one child will receive a £15 voucher
  • A family with 2 or 3 children will receive a £35 voucher
  • A family with 4+ children will receive a £50 voucher