Extra funding worth more than £320,000 is being made available for childcare, voluntary and charitable organisations to provide activities and food for vulnerable Hampshire children during the February half term school holiday.
The extra money has been added to the existing Community Grants scheme, which is part of the ‘connect4communities’ programme – led by Hampshire County Council – and is one of several measures that aims to support families and individuals facing financial hardship because of COVID-19.
Councillor Patricia Stallard, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People, said:
Owing to the current national lockdown restrictions, we are unable to deliver the holiday playscheme in the half term as originally planned under our ‘connect4communities’ programme. However, to make sure we can still provide support to households who would have benefited from the scheme, we have extended the ‘connect4communities’ Community Grants criteria to enable local organisations to apply for the money instead, so they can operate similar activity and food schemes in their area.
‘connect4communities’ is funded by the £2.89 million Winter Grant Scheme allocation awarded to the Authority by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The purpose of the programme is to support families in need, especially those with children, to access basic necessities this winter.
Community, charity or voluntary organisations and childcare providers (including out-of-school childcare) are encouraged to apply for a Community Grant to fund half term activities for local children. Examples of how these grants could be used include wraparound care (especially where groups maintain the same bubbles as in term time), activity and food packs, as well as food boxes. Services must meet the DWP’s Winter Grant Scheme criteria, which states that:
- at least 80% of the total funding will be ring-fenced to support families with children, with up to 20% of the total funding allocated for other types of households, including individuals
- at least 80% of the total funding will be ring-fenced to provide support with food, energy and water bills, with up to 20% made available for other essential items
Councillor Stallard added:
We believe that transferring the funds from the holiday playscheme to Community Grants is the most effective course of action in light of the changing circumstances. I am encouraged, by the grant applications we have received so far, that our communities will find many wonderful ways to put this funding to good use and help families and individuals who are struggling financially due to the pandemic.
To learn more about the ‘connect4communities’ projects and to apply for a Community Grant visit connect4communities.org