Around 15,200 children in Bolton are to be given meal vouchers during the school holidays – and 10,000 pensioners will be given £25 in the post over the next six months. Bolton council has set out exactly how it will spend the £2.8m it has been granted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) under the household support fund to support those in need during the prolonged cost of living crisis.

The funding is for the six month period from April 1 to September 30 and represents the fifth period of funding since October 2021. Rather than focus on one specific vulnerable group, the DWP have stated that councils should use a range of data and sources of information to  provide support to a broad cross section of vulnerable households in their area.

The council has set out its plans to spend the cash over the next 26 weeks.

READ MORE: Bolton Councillors critical of Household Support Fund

Children in Bolton eligible for free school meals will get vouchers to the value of £15 per child to cover the May half-­term holidays and £60 per child to cover the summer holidays.

The council estimates that 15,200 children will benefit. £25 of post office vouchers will be distributed to around 10,000 pensioners in receipt of council tax support and pension credit.

Residents in receipt of a disability related benefit will get £25 supermarket vouchers which will impact 9,000 residents. The council will invest £250,000 in the Bolton Fund to provide a specific household support fund round which includes £25,000 to cover administration costs.

These will be grants to community groups up to a maximum value of £15,000 administered by the Community Volunteer Service. Bids will be evaluated by an independent panel.

A £165,000 budget will be used to complement the council’s Holidays, Activity and Fun (HAF) summer programme. Funding for this would be specifically aimed at direct food provision and any associated staffing costs.

£100,000 will be used to provide a range of grants for boiler repairs, servicing or replacement or other heating related support with £150,000 made available to the money skills service to provide additional debt and money advice.

A £100,000 budget is to be made available to support residents with emergency housing costs and £50,000 will be spent to support care leavers with cost of living related pressures linked to food, energy and water.

Around £140,000 will be used to cover the administrative costs associated with the provision of support over the six months. A council spokesman, said: “Energy bills may of particular concern to low ­income households during the period of the scheme and councils should especially consider how they can support households with food and the cost of energy.

“It is important to stress this covers a wide range of low­ income households and there is no requirement to be in receipt of welfare benefits. “Authorities can deliver the scheme through a variety of routes including providing vouchers to households, making direct provision of food or issuing grants to third parties.

“The DWP considers that councils have the local ties and knowledge, making them best placed to identify and help those most in need.”