Dorset Council says it ‘will ensure children get the help they need’ this half term

By Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins

DORSET Council says it is working with local voluntary organisations to ensure no children go hungry during the half-term break, as well as making arrangements for the Christmas and New Year holiday.

Following the government’s recent decision not to extend free school meal vouchers through the holidays, Dorset Council is working to ensure those who usually rely on the provision get the help they need.

Cllr Andrew Parry, portfolio holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help at Dorset Council, said: “No child should go hungry, and Dorset Council has arrangements in place to help provide food for struggling families. Any family struggling at this time can either contact us directly on 01305 221000 or Dorset Citizen’s Advice on Freephone 0800 144 8848. We will ensure they get the help they need.”

The council says it has been working with local volunteers, food banks and community groups throughout the COVID pandemic to ensure a network of support is in place for vulnerable people.

“We are hugely grateful to these volunteers, groups and local businesses for the support they provide within communities,” said Cllr Parry.

“Where access to food for struggling families is not available in a particular area, we are funding emergency food parcels through the Volunteer Centre Dorset. The parcels will be delivered within 24 hours of receiving the request, although they are normally sent out the same day.”

“We know many people are facing very challenging circumstances right now. If you need support, whether it’s food, or advice about money, mental health, or relationships, you are not alone – there is a range of help and support available.

“The specialist advisers at Citizens Advice can help with immediate problems and also help plan for the longer term. Please pick up the phone and speak to someone now.”

You can call Citizens Advice on Freephone 0800 144 8848 or visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/reaching-out

Cllr Parry continued: “We are currently making arrangements for the Christmas holidays for children who receive free school meals.”

Local restaurants SWIM in Lyme Regis and RISE in West Bay are also raising funds to ensure no child goes hungry this winter – click here for further details.

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