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TLG’s statement:  More support made available for families

TLG’s statement:  More support made available for families

10th November 2020

Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) welcomes Sunday’s announcement from the Government, committing to measures which will support children and families in England facing food insecurity and other challenges during the current crisis. 

The package includes: 

£170m COVID-19 Winter Grant scheme: the Winter Grant scheme is designed to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter, running until the end of March 2021. The funding, which will be given to Local Authorities in England to distribute, is ring-fenced and at least 80% must be spent on supporting people with food and bill-related costs.  

Expansion of Holidays, Activities and Food programme (HAF): the Government will fund the expansion of the current Holiday, Activities and Food programme (HAF). The expanded scheme will cover Easter, Summer and Christmas 2021 and will be made available to children on Free School Meals in every local authority area in England. The current pilots of the HAF programme took place in 17 Local Authorities and TLG is proud to have played our part in developing this scheme. 

Increase in Healthy Start payments: Healthy Start Payments are set to rise in April 2021, from £3.10 per week to £4.25. This scheme supports pregnant women and families with children under four years old to afford fresh fruit and vegetables, contributing to the health of the children.

Additional funding for charities: the Government has also pledged additional funding of £16m for food distribution charities. The Government is currently liaising with organisations including FareShare about how this will be distributed.  

This commitment came after many families in poverty were left with no official safety net in place over the recent October half-term holidays. This led to many relying on the outpouring of generosity from the community to feed their children, including businesses and charities whose income has also been affected by the crisis. In order to avoid a repeat of this desperate situation, the Government must commit to expansive and permanent holiday provision beyond the current 2021 end date.  

TLG will also continue to call for the £20 increase in Universal Credit to be made permanent and expanded to include all Legacy benefits (for example JSA and ESA), as part of a continued package of support. We will continue to work with other individuals, charities and organisations to campaign for this and for further support for children and families facing financial, educational and emotional challenges before, during and after the pandemic. 

We know the need is great, with many people’s income impacted by the current pandemic and many more families facing poverty as a result. Therefore, alongside this commitment from the Government and other commitments on holiday provision from the devolved nations, TLG will continue to support families throughout the winter period. Our Box of Hope campaign, providing emergency food and welfare packages to families across the UK, has so far provided the equivalent of over 500,000 meals to families across the UK. This week we are re-launching this campaign, seeking to equip even more churches to reach out to families on their doorstep – including offering £200 start-up funding. To find out more, including how you can take part, click here.  

Tim Morfin, Chief Executive of TLG, commented: 

“We are grateful for this funding from the Government that will make a difference for families facing food and financial insecurity. Children and families continue to face multi-complex issues as a result of the pandemic, including the impact of COVID-19 on their finances and emotional wellbeing. Therefore, TLG will continue to equip churches across the UK to meet the needs of children and families in their communities through our Box of Hope winter wellbeing packages and Emotional First Aid projects.” 

Important note: this is a devolved issue, with Wales and Scotland having committed to separate funding to support families. Wales have committed to full holiday provision for children on Free School Meals up to and including Easter 2021. Scotland has committed to funding £10m, given to Local Authorities to distribute, to support holiday provision up until and including Easter 2021. Both of these are part of wider support packages, providing additional help for vulnerable families at this time. 

 

Beth Prescott

Beth Prescott

Before coming to TLG, Beth worked as a Fundraising Project Manager for poverty-relief charity Christians Against Poverty. Beth also has experience in the political sector, having worked for a Government Minister. She was one of the youngest Parliamentary candidates in the country in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, narrowly missing out on a seat in Parliament in 2017. Beth is a season ticket holder at Huddersfield Town and enjoys hiking through the Yorkshire countryside followed by a local ale in the pub.

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