Support and events for children, young people and families this half-term
Free school meal food vouchers
West Sussex County Council is providing supermarket vouchers to every child who receives free school meals (benefits-related) over the half-term. Over 17,000 children will be given a £15 food voucher to spend at their family’s chosen supermarket.
To date, The County Council has allocated £6.8m of its Household Support Fund to the voucher scheme since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Around 180,000 vouchers have so far been issued to schools to distribute to their eligible families for school breaks, this amount will again increase this half-term.
Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning & Skills, said: “I am extremely pleased that we are again able to provide over 17,000 food vouchers to around 10,000 West Sussex households to support them over the October half-term. This underlines the Council’s ongoing commitment to helping families who are most in need, at a time when many are facing financial pressures.”
Half-term children’s activities at your library
Has your child been inspired by the England Lionesses becoming European football champions over the summer? Are they fans of Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Ellie Simmonds, now on Strictly Come Dancing, or Novak Djokovic, the winner of 21 tennis grand slams?
Visit a West Sussex library during October half-term for the free family activity Sporty Stars, where sporting figures will be celebrated with stories and crafts. Most libraries have limited spaces so booking is required. Sign up for Sporty Stars at your nearest library on the Council website website: www.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries/sporty-stars
Libraries also run regular events for young children including Rhyme time and Story time, as well as other events, which you can also find on the library website: www.westsussex.gov.uk/regular-activities-by-library
Halloween and other events
Across West Sussex there are plenty of activities to keep all ages entertained. With Halloween approaching, you can find details of walks and as well as pumpkin finding and other events during October half-term on the Experience West Sussex website.
Ongoing family support and activities this winter
Holiday Activities and Food Christmas programme
The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is returning for the Christmas school holiday. 2,395 eligible children took part over the summer break, taking part in a range of clubs and groups along with a meal.
The free Christmas programme is open to all West Sussex children who receive benefits-related free school meals. Families will soon be able to book places at local clubs so keep checking the Council’s Holiday Activities and Food webpages, where you can also check if you’re eligible.
Family Hubs offering drop-in support
There are 12 Family Hubs across West Sussex with drop-in opening times for families and young people needing support.
The ‘Find it Out’ offer is available to all young people in the county aged between 11 and 19. The Council also supports young people up to 25 who have additional needs or who have experienced care.
Hubs can also help families with a range of other things, such as finding childcare, parenting, health advice, and help on how to access support to financial, legal or housing advice. Find your local Family Hub here: www.westsussex.gov.uk/find-a-family-hub
Supporting children and young people’s mental health
Do you know a young person who is struggling? Your Mind Matters is a County Council-led campaign which aims to ensure young people, parents and professionals across West Sussex know where to get help with their emotional wellbeing and mental health, both in general and in times of crisis.
Cost of living support
West Sussex County Council are available to help with cost of living advice and support for families and individuals. On the ‘Here to help – Cost of living’ webpages, people can find practical advice to help them, as well as information about how to apply for extra local and national support.