Families in Swindon who may be experiencing financial hardship over half-term are being urged to contact Swindon Borough Council for help. The Council is using its Emergency Assistance Fund to help vulnerable children in food poverty, who are eligible for free school meals, over the school holidays. It is the latest support measure, which has been made available to help those struggling in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) gave the Council a grant of £227,827 in order to help vulnerable residents in its communities. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Council and a number of local organisations have been providing food to those ‘shielding’ and to those unable to afford to pay for food. Over the last six months alone, the Council’s Emergency Assistance Fund has helped 291 people, while the Council has distributed 625 free food parcels to residents who could not afford to pay for their food and had no-one to look after them. The Government grant was split between a number of local groups including Swindon Food Collective, Swindon Scrapstore, Swindon Night Shelter, Swindon Harbour Project and Swindon Carers Centre. Councillor Russell Holland, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Commercialisation and Education and Skills, said: “We have always provided help to those who need it most and, unfortunately, the pandemic has left many people needing the Council’s support. “We know many of our residents are struggling financially during these challenging times, which is why we are keen to offer help particularly to our vulnerable children who are eligible for free school meals. “We have a great community here in Swindon and many charities and organisations have already stepped up to offer support, but the Council does have funds available for anyone, to help people in need.
“If anyone requires help I strongly encourage them to contact the Council who will be able to signpost to organisations who can help and provide support directly as well.” For more information on the Council’s Emergency Assistance Fund and to make a claim, call 01793 445500.