Romsey's County Councillor, Mark Cooper, has agreed to contribute £2,000 of his Councillor's Devolved Grant budget to a scheme to support Hampshire's most vulnerable families.
Hampshire County Council has established a centralised pot for distribution to local welfare centres across Hampshire via 'Community First', on the basis of need. This follows a request from Hampshires Chief Executive, John Coughlan, to Councillors, asking them to support the Community First scheme.
"This will compensate for the government's refusal, confirmed by a Parliamentary vote, not to extend the provision of free school meals during school holidays for vulnerable pupils," says Cllr Cooper.
"Central Government has been incredibly short-sighted in not funding school lunches through school holidays for the children of vulnerable families. The Government has thrown billions at a failing 'track-and-trace' system yet it rejects Marcus Rashford's campaign to ensure none of our vulnerable children go hungry during school holidays. Local Government, which has been starved of central government funding for 10 years, is forced to pick up the pieces," he says. "£2,000 is a modest sum but it represents 20% of my annual grant budget."
"In addition, I have already granted FareShare Southern Central Larder £1000 from my devolved grant fund in the last few days. FareShare Southern Central is part of the UK's largest food redistribution charity. It provides food to over 200 charities in Hampshire and Dorset, distributing to over18,000 people each week."
"It's appalling that this funding is not being provided by central government... my grant funds are designed for small charity start-ups and activities within my Romsey Division... not for compensating for government inaction on one of the most crucial issues of the day, the health and wellbeing of the County's most vulnerable children."
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