THE Isle of Wight Council has confirmed that vulnerable Island children and those eligible for free school meals will once again receive food vouchers during the October half-term.

Last year, professional footballer Marcus Rashford led the campaign for vulnerable children to continue receiving free school meals during the October half-term, and that is set to continue with this years’ food vouchers.

The £157,470 funding for the vouchers has been provided from the £1.1 million awarded to the authority through Covid Household Support Fund, issued by Department for Work and Pensions.

It is aimed at supporting vulnerable households with food, utility bills, and other household expenses.

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet lead for Children’s Services, Education and Lifelong Skills, said: “It is vitally important to us that no child should go hungry over the school holiday.

“That is why I am pleased to announce that funding will once again be provided to over 5,000 children across the Island.

“I’d like to thank our partners in the childcare, early years, schools and college settings that have played a role in ensuring food vouchers reach eligible families as quickly as possible, in time for half-term.”

Ahead of the October half-term holiday, funding has been quickly distributed to schools, colleges, and early years providers to supply each eligible household with a £15 voucher for each child.

Food vouchers will be given to:

• All families whose children are eligible for benefits related to free school meals;

• Children being supported by a social worker;

• Children receiving early help services from the council’s Family Support Service;

• Two to four-year-olds accessing childcare and eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium;

• 16 to 18-year-olds who were previously eligible for free school meals.

The council is in talks with partners to consider the most effective approach to using the remainder of the funding.