As part of the Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme announced earlier in November, the funding is designed to directly help families and individuals who have been hardest-hit by the pandemic, with the majority set aside to ensure children do not go hungry during the winter months.

In addition to supporting families with free school meals during the school holidays, support with costs associated with utilities and other essential items will be available to professionals working with vulnerable households. Southampton City Council will be partnering with various community partners to facilitate this and will be available from the beginning of January 2021.

Councillor Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said:

“The last 10 months has been a difficult time for residents in the city. Support has come in many forms and the collaborative working across agencies, within mutual aid, places of worship, businesses, education settings and with volunteers is a true testament to the city’s determination to help those most in need. This funding from Government means we can help to make sure that no child in Southampton will go hungry over the holidays and we can provide people with the help they need, when they need it.”

In the meantime, families who may be facing financial difficulties this Christmas are encouraged to speak to their early years or childcare provider, school or college. Or, residents can contact the COVID-19 helpline 023 8083 4800, open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm or via this online form.

The COVID resident helpline will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Monday 28 December and New Year’s Day.

This website will be updated regularly as more information is available.