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Children: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL5541, tabled on 10 June 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to meet the needs of (1) vulnerable, and (2) disadvantaged, children during the summer holidays.

Answered on

24 June 2020

Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we know there is increased pressure on household budgets, and we recognise families will face particular challenges over the coming months. That is why we are providing additional funding for the Covid Summer Food Fund which will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to be supported over the school holiday period. We will publish guidance shortly.

The Holiday Activities and Food scheme are integral to our approach to provide support to children over the summer. It will ensure thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals and holiday activities in summer 2020, building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. We remain committed to supporting children and families through the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This government will always put the care and safety of vulnerable children first, especially at this time as they face unique challenges due to COVID-19. The £12 million package announced in April will support vulnerable children most at risk of neglect, violence or exploitation during the COVID-19 outbreak.

More than £7 million will also fund the launch of the See, Hear, Respond service, to provide targeted help to vulnerable children, young people and their families affected by COVID-19 and the measures put in place to stop its spread. The coalition, led by Barnardo’s, will work alongside local authorities, schools and colleges, police forces, healthcare professionals and other vital services involved in protecting these children.