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Support available for Surrey families struggling this winter

Surrey County Council will ensure help is available for families struggling this winter, through the Government’s £170m COVID Winter Support Grant.

Surrey is set to receive just over £2m funding as part of the grant announced earlier in November.

It 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.

The council will receive the first £1m of the funding in early December, with further allocations next year.

Surrey County Council will administer the funds, which must be spent by March 31 2021.

The council, through schools, will ensure support to all 17,000 children in the county eligible for Free School Meals. This will be done through food vouchers sent to the children’s families throughout the Christmas holidays.

There will also be a winter grant to care leavers, and direct support to families of younger children eligible for the pupil premium.

The remainder of the funding – around £200,000 from the first tranche of money – will be given to the Surrey Crisis Fund and made available to residents who are struggling through the winter.

This money will provide support towards food costs and utility bills, but also emergencies such as replacing broken white goods, to guide people away from long lasting debt.

Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “Throughout these difficult and uncertain times it has been our absolute priority to protect our most vulnerable residents.

“I’m delighted that funding from the Winter Support Grant will help us to continue to do that. It is vital that support and supplies are always available to those who need them most.

“The coming winter months will prove challenging for us all, but our message to those who are struggling is clear – we are here to help.”

The funding from the Winter Support Grant is only available for a limited time. More information can be accessed on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-winter-package-to-provide-further-support-for-children-and-families

For further information on the Surrey Crisis Fund, please visit: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/surrey-crisis-fund

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