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Over 20,000 vouchers claimed as help continues in Christmas holiday

12 December 2023

The supermarket voucher scheme will continue to operate in the Christmas school holiday for all eligible families in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council will run the scheme until the February 2024 half term using the Household Support Fund from the Department for Work and Pensions and additional funding provided by the Council.

Eligible families will automatically be sent a £30 voucher via email or text on Saturday 16 December. The voucher can be used at a choice of 10 supermarkets.

The voucher scheme has been a huge success since it was introduced and appreciated keenly by families struggling in the current financial climate. Over 20,000 vouchers were claimed in the October half term alone.

A survey revealed that over 70 per cent of families said the vouchers had helped them cope with the rising cost of living. More than 50 per cent said the scheme had reduced the need for them to seek other sources of support in the school holidays such as food banks.

Over 46 per cent of those responding to the survey said the vouchers had helped them buy healthier food such as fruit and vegetables for their families.

Total spend in the October half term week was £317,000, with this expecting to more than double to £660,000 in the two-week Christmas holiday. Aldi and Tesco have been the most popular choice of supermarket.

In addition to the holiday voucher scheme, there is further support available in response to the cost of living, which can be found here: Support with the cost of living - Cambridgeshire County Council

Councillor Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of the County Council’s Children and Young People’s committee said: “These vouchers really are a lifeline for the many families in Cambridgeshire struggling at the moment – as our surveys have found. The Christmas period is particularly challenging for many families, so I am delighted that we are able to continue offering vouchers to eligible families. Helping them buy healthy food and reduce their reliance on food banks is proof that the scheme is not only valued but also essential.”

Comments from eligible families who have received supermarket vouchers as part of the scheme include:

“I have found it helped me to know that I had the food voucher to spend on my children during the holidays. Without this I would have struggled to make sure they ate enough.”

“So grateful for the vouchers, they have massively helped out our family.”

“I have been able to buy more fruit and vegetables and made healthier food choices.”

“I have thoroughly appreciated this scheme in helping make these expensive and worrying times slightly less of a burden.”

“It's the best thing ever for me and my family. I can't thank the scheme enough.”

“The scheme has really made a difference to us as a family during school holidays as money can be really tight and it has enabled us to not worry so much about being able to buy food.”