THE council will receive more than £1.1m in funding for food and supplies for vulnerable households as part of a £170m government package

An extension of the school holiday programme providing food and activities for young people has also been announced.

This will see families across Leigh and surrounding areas that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and need extra support this winter with food and bills receive financial help.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will see councils across England share £170 million in additional, ring-fenced funding to help vulnerable families and individuals, with Wigan Council receiving 1,124,537.72.

This is aimed to help prevent children from going hungry this winter and ensure local families get the help they need. It builds on the £63 million already provided to councils this year to assist those struggling to buy food and essentials.

A further £220million will be invested in extending the Holiday and Food Programme until next Christmas, meaning that all children eligible for Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and fun activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays next year.

The issue of child and holiday hunger came under the spotlight last month following a parliamentary vote against a motion of providing free meals during the October half-term following the campaign of Manchester United player Marcus Rashford.

James Grundy, MP for Leigh, said: “No child should ever go hungry, and the extra £1,124,537.72 for Wigan Council will ensure local families that need extra support with food and bills this winter can access it, which is very welcome news.

“'The temporary free school meals holiday voucher system was a weak mechanism for targeting help to those who needed it most. I'm glad we have been able to come up with a better mechanism, which will allocate around four times more resources to help struggling families than the previous voucher system."

He added: “I’m also pleased that the Prime Minister has announced the extension of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides healthy food and activities for children during the school holidays and has a massive impact on disadvantaged young people in our community, to cover Easter, Summer and Christmas next year.

“Investing in children’s future is central to the Conservative Party’s mission to level up and extend opportunity across the country, and with this additional support we can prevent the hunger we know is so damaging to a child’s life chances.”