Column by South Gloucestershire Council's cabinet member for children and young people, Sam Bromiley.

No child in South Gloucestershire should go hungry. This half-term, we’ve made extra sure of this by providing and funding food payment cards and food parcels for families and carers whose children are eligible for free school meals. I received free school meals myself as a child and I know that school holidays can be particularly tough for some families because they need to provide more meals than in term time.

We’ve been able to fund this additional support through our Emergency Assistance Grant funding and incorporating some of the £2m funding for local priorities which we received recently from Government.

Families were able to apply for a payment card by visiting our One Stop Shops, contacting their local Citizens Advice Bureau or calling us, and the card can be used in all main supermarkets and other retail outlets.

The food parcels were collected from schools across the area and contained dried goods and non-perishable food. I’m particularly grateful to the schools who opened their doors during half-term and I’d also like to say a massive thank you to everyone who so kindly stepped up to help us provide the food parcels. We were moved and cheered by the huge number of offers of support from local suppliers, multi-academy trust CEOs and our Headteachers from across the district. We’ve also worked with local suppliers who have been fantastic. Yet again, as it has so often done over the past challenging seven months, South Gloucestershire pulled together to support the most vulnerable in our district. It makes me proud to be a Cabinet Member at South Gloucestershire Council.

Looking past half-term, we continue to offer ongoing support for families that are struggling. Our Emergency Assistance Grants are targeted at those who are struggling because Covid-19 has affected their income and are focussed on helping them afford food and other essentials.

To find out more about the Emergency Assistance Grants as well as other funds and help available, those who are struggling are encouraged to contact their local One Stop Shop in person, by phone on 0800 953 7778 or by sending an email to, or to contact Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire on 03444 111 444.