Rochdale Borough Council has announced up to £500,000 of support to help struggling families hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.
As the outbreak takes its toll in the borough, families with children who currently receive means tested free school meals are being handed a boost in the form of up to £130 of Aldi supermarket vouchers. Families with one child will be issued with £65 of vouchers, while families with 2 or more children will receive £130 in vouchers to spend on groceries and household essentials.
Funding for the vouchers, distributed by Rochdale Borough Council over the next 3 weeks to around 5,000 households has been provided from the government hardship fund aimed at helping the most financially challenged families buy everyday items that many of us take for granted.
'Families with children'
Council leader Allen Brett said:
"We want this hardship funding to help as many people as possible and hope that by focusing on families with children we know will be struggling at the moment it will be a welcome boost. We have seen a significant increase in people requiring support and whilst this public health emergency is having an impact on many local people it is inevitably affecting some more than others, which is why we are providing this extra assistance. We've had to develop and deliver the scheme very quickly but the first vouchers will start being delivered in the next few days."
Councillor Faisal Rana, assistant cabinet member for finance said:
"Many hard-up families with children are facing a real crisis with rising food prices and extra costs such as increased utility bills. I am very concerned and asked the council to ensure this additional help is provided quickly. Struggling families who are having to cope with looking after children who would normally be at school need support, so I hope this is of some comfort. Most do not have savings they can fall back on and have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The council have also set up community response hubs across the borough and are delivering emergency food parcels to households that don't have a family member, friend or neighbour to support them. If you're a vulnerable resident isolating or know of a vulnerable resident that requires food supplies or any other help please phone 01706 923685. Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.