Help and support on hand for struggling families

COUNCIL bosses say help can be found for families who have struggled to make ends meet through the summer holidays.

On Tuesday, our sister paper Lincolnshire Free Press revealed the impact of losing the free school meal provision through the six-week break was taking its toll on family finances.

As a result, requests for help to Spalding’s Agape Care Foodbank doubled between July and August.

There are currently 10,500 children on free school meals in Lincolnshire, which is anticipated to rise to about 11,500 when the new reception class children’s families apply.

Debbie Barnes, the county’s assistant director of children’s services, says Lincolnshire’s children’s centres offer advice and support to all families and carers with children up to five years.

Some also cater for older children in the holidays.

She said: “Centres offer a wide range of support services for children and their families and work in close partnership with other organisations such as Health and JobCentre Plus.

“Children’s centres offer access to child and family health services, advice and information around local child care choices, money management, family support, training and employment advice, as well as lots of free activities to promote children’s learning and development.

“They will also be able to provide information about the local community and services which are available through partner agencies and in times of need.”

Mrs Barnes said the centres can also provide access to larder vouchers for food parcels, family funds, child care, home safety equipment and many other services.

For more information about children’s centres, contact the Family Information Service on 0800 195 1635.

Details about the Agape Care Foodbank in Spalding can be found at www.agapecare.org.uk