A SINGLE father has benefitted from a special coronavirus assistance scheme which provides him and his son with essential food parcels.

Following the death of his wife Kelly, bereaved Shaun Bury from Darwen has had trouble making ends meet.

But the delivery of provisions has meant he and his five-year-old son Alfie can still eat well.

The fortnightly food package is provided by Blackburn with Darwen Council through the government-funded Covid Winter Support Scheme.

It assists families with children and other vulnerable adults affected by Covid-19 through the winter period to access food, support with heating and utility bills and other essentials to help keep people warm and fed. The scheme can also help towards items such as replacing broken appliances, boiler repairs and essential toiletries and clothing.

The programme runs until March 31 and is for households with children under 19 who may not meet the benefit threshold.

This includes families who have experienced job losses, furlough, taking unpaid time off work to care for children, those eligible for free school meals, healthy start vouchers, and young people not in education or training.

Mr Bury said: “It has been a massive help.

"It’s a relief to know that the food shopping has been taken care of.

"I’m still on bereavement leave and the pay doesn’t cover all the bills, so this really helps.

“The food parcel is delivered every couple of weeks and there’s plenty to make meals for me and my lad. It all gets used and it has been one less thing to worry about.”

Cllr Julie Gunn, the council's Children's services boss, said: “This scheme is to help struggling families and vulnerable people wherever we can. More families and children have been at home due to home schooling and working, which means heating bills have been higher than usual.

"I would urge anyone who thinks they might be eligible to contact our Help Hub and see what could be available to them.”

The Help Hub can be contacted by phoning 01254 588 111 between 9am-5pm or online at www.blackburn.gov.uk/helphub