Home / Local news / A Christmas gift from Marcus Rashford – Covid Winter Grants will feed Newham’s children and the most vulnerable over the holidays

A Christmas gift from Marcus Rashford – Covid Winter Grants will feed Newham’s children and the most vulnerable over the holidays

Children and Newham’s most vulnerable residents, who faced the threat of poverty and hunger over the holiday season and beyond, will get extra support.

The ground-breaking campaign by England footballer Marcus Rashford, together with lobbying from councils like Newham, has seen the Government bow to public opinion and provide extra funding to keep people warm, fed and clothed this winter.

The Covid crisis has sadly pushed thousands more people in Newham to the brink of, and into poverty, and the new scheme will help the council alleviate some of the harshest effects.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme provides funding to support to the neediest in our borough. It will provide:

Food vouchers during the Christmas and Easter school breaks for children who qualify for free school meals

Food vouchers for those not in receipt of free school meals but who are  identified as vulnerable, including those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Funding for the Newham Food Alliance, which delivers food and other essentials for anyone who needs help and support

Vouchers through Newham Council’s MoneyWorks programme to help those struggling with food, utility bills and other essential needs like nappies and sanitary wear

Support for voluntary and charity sector groups that work with families with children with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Support for six other voluntary and charity sector partners, including The Magpie Project, Bonnydowns Community Centre, Shpresa, Alternatives, RDLAC and the Roma Association

The scheme will run from early this month (December) until the end of March 2021

From a national fund of £170 million, Newham has been granted just under £1.36 million. Funding has been allocated on a per-head of population basis but has also been weighted to reflect the levels of deprivation in Newham.

Councillor Zulfiqar Ali, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said:

“It is amazing to see what impact sustained pressure can have on government thinking. The fantastic work of Marcus Rashford, and the lobbying by councils, pressure groups, faith leaders and ordinary people up and down this country, has forced a policy change that will make life for our most vulnerable a little more bearable this winter.

“I am delighted that in Newham we will not only be able to support children during the school holidays, but can extend that help from those normally left unsupported, including those excluded from the benefit system (NRPF).

“We know that Newham has suffered disproportionately as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is why we have lobbied so hard for a Covid Premium – or in simple terms extra money – to be included in funding from Central Government. This scheme at least nods towards the important concept of matching funding to need, and I welcome that.”