COVID Winter Grant Fund – food vouchers for vulnerable children

In response to the calls for school meal support for vulnerable children over the school holidays a COVID Winter Grant Fund has been made available to local authorities and district councils to support families experiencing financial hardship over the 2020-21 winter. Children eligible for free school meals will be issued with food vouchers and district councils will be able to support families through their hardship grants. Early Help will also be able to help families in this situation with a grant of up to £100 per family to support them to buy food and pay utility bills over the winter.

If you are working with families that are experiencing financial hardship this winter then please contact Early Help so that they receive this and other financial support to improve their situation. Their hardship does not need to be COVID related or recently acquired but repeat requests for help may be best supported through Early Help partners to sustainably improve the family’s financial situation.

The criteria set by Early Help is as follows:

  • You are a family (at least 2 people where at least 1 person is either pre-birth or up to 18 yrs old)
  • You are not eligible for hardship grant funding through your district council or you have not yet applied
  • You are experiencing financial hardship linked to or independent of COVID (e.g. unemployed, furloughed, being made redundant)
  • You need financial help to buy food or to pay utility bills

N.B: In the event that the full grant you are applying for is to support with winter fuel/utilities – after approval of your application, we request that your organisation provides the funding directly to the family from your organisations own resources and this amount will then be re-imbursed to you by Early Help. All requests should come via a practitioner and not as a self-request from a family.

You can contact Early Help by contacting one of the following mailboxes:

Northern Devon:

Southern Devon:

Mid and East Devon:


If you are not sure which locality your family is located in please contact any one of these emails and include their location in your opening email.