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Over 23,000 vouchers distributed this half term to families in need

28 February 2024

More than 23,000 supermarket vouchers were distributed during the February half term to eligible families in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council has continued to run the existing scheme using the Household Support Fund from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Eligible families were automatically sent a £15 voucher for the week via email or text at the beginning of the half term holiday, with the voucher being valid at a choice of 11 supermarkets. A total of 23,288 were distributed.

The current round of Government funding will end on 31 March, but the county council agreed at its meeting on 13 February to invest £3m of its own money to continue the holiday supermarket vouchers for those children most in need.

The voucher scheme has been a huge success since it was introduced and appreciated keenly by families struggling in the current financial climate.

The recent quality of life survey of over 5,000 residents in Cambridgeshire showed that 86 per cent of residents were concerned about cost of living increases.

A separate survey of families receiving the supermarket vouchers revealed that over 86 per cent of families said the vouchers had helped them cope with the rising cost of living. More than 74 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 76 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.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of the Children and Young People’s Committee said: “The supermarket voucher scheme has been a lifeline to many families since it started. With the current round of Government funding coming to an end on 31 March, I’m delighted that we are prioritising funding for a revised supermarket voucher scheme,

“This will help reduce inequalities and protect the most vulnerable, including children and families, while making the county fairer and more caring.”

Committee Vice-Chair Cllr Michael Atkins added: “We know that the vast majority of residents are still feeling the squeeze from the cost of living crisis. This current, and ongoing, funding is vital to help those most in need. The feedback from families on the supermarket voucher scheme alone has shown how invaluable this help has been.”