Further support is being provided to struggling families over Christmas through school food vouchers and outdoor holiday activities.

The City Council has consistently made £15-per-week vouchers available to all children who receive free school meals (FSM) over holiday periods, and these have been issued to parents.

Alongside the supermarket vouchers will be a number of outdoor holiday activities across Nottingham. At these, FSM pupils will receive a free lunch, plus a programme of activities focused on healthy eating, fitness and mental health.

The two projects have been funded through a combined award of £5.3 million from the Household Support Grant Scheme and the Holiday Activity Fund (HAF).

The £1.8m HAF grant was, through a bidding process, made available to community groups, charities and schools with the ability to deliver outdoor holiday activities in neighbourhoods across the city.

More than 15,000 children attended these clubs and were fed over the summer holiday in Nottingham, and this money will be used to deliver clubs and activities during the Christmas holidays too.

The HAF funding has been allocated from the Department for Education with certain criteria attached. This stipulates that the support for tackling holiday hunger should be through free school meals pupils attending holiday clubs.

Parents can book places by visiting www.asklion.co.uk/funandfood to see the list of clubs and the contact details of the groups.

There are also a limited number of places available for children who aren’t eligible for FSM and these will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, Portfolio Holder for Schools at Nottingham City Council, said: “We know how hard the past 18 months have been for some in our city and so it is great news that pupils in need of help will be able to benefit from supermarket vouchers and activity clubs again this Christmas.

“The Council has made this support available throughout the year during school holidays but this is a special time of the year for children and their families. We want to help them in every way we can.

“Nottingham has around 15,000 children eligible for free school meals, and many of these families will already be feeling the strain following the removal of the Government’s £20 Universal Credit uplift. It is right and proper that we are given this funding to ensure healthy meals for children in need.

“We will be seeking further clarity from Government about the future of supermarket vouchers and the best way to support our free school meal pupils in the longer term.”

Last year, Nottingham City Council endorsed Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to tackle holiday hunger.

At a meeting of the Full Council in November 2020, councillors highlighted the levels of child poverty in Nottingham and gave a commitment to support free schools meals to children throughout the holidays in 2021.