Household Support Fund extended to help residents this winter
To support vulnerable residents over the winter period, a further £694,000 will be made available until March 2023 via the Household Support Fund (HSF).
To date, the HSF, has successfully helped support more than 2,400 households to pay for energy bills, food, clothing and wider essentials. The funding has also supported more than 4,000 children across our district by providing Free School Meal vouchers, recognising the additional financial pressure during this time.
The provision of Free School Meal vouchers will be prioritised to assist and support children during school holidays and will be made available directly via early-years settings and schools.
The funding has been provided to us by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as we are best placed to distribute the funds directly to help those who need it the most. The funding is limited and the remainder, after delivery of school meal vouchers, will be made available by an application process to assist vulnerable residents, pensioners and children across West Berkshire who are not eligible for other kinds of help or need further support.
Cllr Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:
"It is important that our ongoing efforts to support residents this winter continues with this additional round of funding available to support our most vulnerable households in West Berkshire.
"I am very pleased that the HSF has been extended as our role is pivotal to support those households and children locally that need it.
"Since the pandemic started, we have paid out £1.4 million to residents who are facing financial hardship including £200,000 distributed to local charities last week to support those of pensionable age, the cost of living support hub and a £100,000 emergency support fund.
"I would encourage residents who meet the HSF criteria to submit their applications early to ensure you don't lose out on receiving this funding."
The Household Support Fund can be accessed online by following this link: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/householdsupportfund. Please note funding is limited and demand is high.
If you are having difficulties with applying please contact the Customer Services team on: 01635 551111 (opening hours Monday-Thursday 8:30am - 5:00pm, Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. Closed on Saturday and Sunday).
If you are experiencing financial difficulties managing your household essentials, please visit our directory of service: Debt Advice which provides useful details of organisations that offer advice and support in respect of finances.
To find out more about the support Central Government is offering to manage the rise in cost of living, please take a look at the government support for the cost of living factsheet.
The Household Support Fund is part of a wider range of support available for residents which is being introduced in the coming weeks. This includes:
- A £100,000 Emergency Cost of Living Crisis Fund - support frontline charities to help residents
- Cost of Living Support Hub- which will provide a single point of contact for residents struggling with the rising cost of living. You can contact them on email: email@example.com or their phone number is: 01635 503333
- Launching a new online resource to help residents worried about paying bills find out about help available locally.