Birmingham City Council will be ensuring families eligible for free school meals over the upcoming October half-term break will get the help they need.

Using £1.2m of its Household Support Fund allocation, the city council is buying 76,000 supermarket vouchers for school-age children, a further 3,000 for early years children and the equivalent of 3,000 for young people post-16 and attending college.

The government’s Household Support Fund is distributed by local authorities to help families with essentials. The council will continue to use Sodexo Exchange to deliver the vouchers.

Councillor Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture, said: “It’s great news that vouchers are being made available to schools and other settings other educational settings so that those families who most need financial support can access the vouchers this October half term. We are determined to get this support to eligible families and to make sure that children can be properly fed.”

Cabinet member for vulnerable children and families, Cllr Sharon Thompson, said: “There is huge pressure on some families so this news will provide some reassurance. It is noticeable and worrying that the number of vouchers we are providing has increased as the effects of the pandemic continue to hit families really hard, including the end of both the furlough scheme and the universal credit uplift.”

The city council is working on plans to use the remainder of its Household Support Fund allocation to support those in need over the coming months.