Oxford City Council pledges "no child goes hungry" during half term

The authority is handing out food vouchers of up to £15 per child for the week.

Oxford City Council is urging families in hardship, particularly those with children receiving Free School Meals, to contact the authority about getting a food voucher.

There are almost 3,000 children in Oxford who qualify for Free School Meals.

The food vouchers are for local families that cannot access food banks or larders, or are in particular and urgent need.

It's estimated the project will cost the council around £45,000.

In Oxford, food banks and larders are also operating - including in Barton, Blackbird Leys, Cowley and Rose Hill - to help provide food to families during half term and beyond. 

The following organisations are providing free meals for children in Oxford during half term:

  • Oxford Mutual Aid and partners are providing free meals tomorrow (27 October) between 1pm and 3pm at Templar's Square Shopping Centre and between 4pm and 6pm at The Leys Pools and Leisure Centre
  • Waste2Taste Café at Ark-T Centre is providing healthy meals to re-heat at home tomorrow (27 October) and on Wednesday (28 October)
  • Florence Park Community Centre is delivering free lunch meals for children and families on Friday (30 October)

Meanwhile, the following community larders will also be open this week:

  • Blackbird Leys Community Larder is open between 3pm and 5pm on Wednesdays at Blackbird Leys Community Centre
  • Rose Hill Community Larder is open between 2pm and 4pm on Tuesdays at Rose Hill Community Centre
  • Barton Community Cupboard is open from 12.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at Barton Neighbourhood Centre 

Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, based at Rose Hill Community Centre, also provides a cooked meal - alongside an after school club - for children on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

For a full list of services providing free or subsidised food within Oxford, please visit: foodmap.goodfoodoxford.org.

If you are struggling to feed your children during half term, contact Oxford City Council by calling 01865 249811.

During lockdown, the council and the Oxford Hub provided emergency food parcels to more than 10,000 families.

In September, following the end of lockdown, the City Council ended this service and instead provided £60,000 of seed funding to help community groups and charities in Oxford provide free or heavily discounted food for families in Oxford. So far, 9,548 people have been supported by the organisations.

The authority is currently contacting all recipients of the food vouchers to check on their welfare and support them to access food banks or larders.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson insists his government will do everything to make sure "no child goes hungry" during the holidays.

The Prime Minister's under pressure to do a U-turn on the policy not to extend free school meals outside term-time in England.  

He says more money is been given to councils and Universal Credit's being increased so everyone gets the "support they need".

 

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