The start of the summer holidays normally marks excitement and adventure for most children, but for a few children it can mean 6 weeks of impending hunger and gloom.  With the aftermath of COVID-19 still gripping the nation Redditch families are feeling the pinch just as much as anywhere else, with deprived communities expected to bear the brunt of the economic emergency that is already starting to take shape.

In response to the upcoming catastrophe local charity Support Redditch has revised its operating model and is preparing to provide support to some of the most vulnerable families in Redditch.

Emma Marshall, speaking for Support Redditch said: “During the pandemic we worked with multiple organisations and over 130 volunteers across Redditch to get aid and relief out to all those who needed it across Redditch, delivering thousands of meals and medication. Our demand for this service has eased in line with changes to the lockdown, but there’s another emergency on the horizon so we will make it our duty to step in and help.”

Whilst the government is providing a continuation of its voucher scheme to those in receipt of free school meals, the charity has partnered with the Disability Support Project, Redditch Borough Council and supermarket Morrisons to support 30 of the most vulnerable families across Redditch through the summer holidays with an additional food parcel packed with essentials for children and young people. The Borough Council’s Benefit Service is working hard to support the scheme whilst providing valuable benefit advice to residents who may need it.

Alex Powell of the Disability Support Project said: “For some of the most vulnerable families the voucher scheme will still not be enough, so we’re keen to make sure there’s additional support where needed. The DSP, thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, stepped up alongside others in the community sector during the pandemic and we’re ready to do so again.”

Bev Allington, Community Champion at Morrisons said: “Morrisons in Redditch is delighted to help its local community, which is part of our role. With the economic impact from COVID-19 starting to develop we knew it was important to support those in the most need.”

Councillor Mike Rouse who is a Trustee of Support Redditch and also the Deputy Leader of Redditch Borough Council said: “The revised model of working means the Borough Council will identify the families in the most need. This new approach puts security and confidentiality at the heart of the operation.”

He added: “No public money is being used to operate this service. It is only possible to provide this intervention thanks to Morrisons, the Disability Support Project, generous donors, and in coordination with Redditch Borough Council. We will once again work across the community with organisations like Redditch East Stronger Together (REST) and others to get this job done on a completely non-partisan basis as before.”

Families who are in need of support and might benefit from an additional food parcel are encouraged to contact Redditch Borough Council at redditchbc.gov.uk or by calling 0152764252 and asking for the Hardship Fund team.

Businesses or individuals wishing to donate to Support Redditch so that the number of families being supported can be increased beyond 30 are encouraged to visit www.supportredditch.net/donate