Essex half term support and free meals for those in need

PUBLISHED: 18:37 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:37 23 October 2020

Councillor Louise McKinlay. Picture: Supplied

Councillor Louise McKinlay. Picture: Supplied


Essex County Council has announced it will provide extra free meals for families this half term as well as additional help for foodbanks.

The council has partnered with the Active Essex Foundation to extend its Holiday Hunger programme over the half term, which will see 33 programmes available across the county and more than 1,000 children provided with free activities and food.

This scheme builds on its summer holidays activity programme which provided free childcare and a free meal for working families and saw 3,548 children take part.

The programme links with schools, foodbanks, local churches, local authorities and the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, to identify families who would benefit.

In addition to the Holiday Hunger programme, Essex County Council is launching the ‘Half Term Emergency Fund’ a new scheme for foodbanks and other organisations which provides food to communities.

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Foodbanks will be able to apply for a grant up to £2,500 to help make sure they have enough supplies to cover the half term holiday.

This week, Labour called on the government to extend a national scheme to provide 1.5m children with food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021 but the proposal was voted down - 322 to 261 votes.

Cllr Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “We are committed to making sure that no child in Essex goes hungry. I want to reach out to families to reassure them that there is support available with two key schemes for this half term.

“First, our Holiday Hunger programme is starting from Monday. It will benefit our children and their families who are most in need in our county, providing them with access to a hot meal, additional support as well as free activities.

“Second, we are also offering funding to foodbanks and other organisations that are a lifeline to many, especially during school holidays.

“These two areas of support, whilst focused on half term are part of the continuing offer for families and I would like to reassure everyone that we are working to respond to the very real challenges faced by many Essex families at this time.”

Eligible foodbanks and organisations can find out more information about the Half Term Emergency fund and apply at

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