Financial support to help with rising costs of food and fuel over the winter months is set to be available to eligible residents across West Northamptonshire.
In line with the council’s Anti-Poverty Strategy, families with school children receiving free school meals, working people subject to low wages, and residents facing monetary hardship, will benefit from just under £2.6m in economic support until March 2023.
Working closely with neighbourhood voluntary organisations and operating via an on-line application process, West Northamptonshire Council will reach out to approximately 17,620 households to distribute £2,599,628, the third tranche of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Household Support Fund.
At Tuesday's Cabinet Meeting (11 October) Councillors agreed how to best use the fund within the scope set out by government ministers. Previous funding has supported eligible households with food, energy and water costs. This extension will ensure that support continues through the winter months to the end of March to those who need it most.
In a bid to offset recent further increases in food and fuel costs, the fund offers families eligible for free school meals £15 per week school vouchers during the half term and other school holidays until March 2023. It also offers eligible households with a person working, but receiving a low wage, up to £200 in food vouchers. In addition to this, up to a further 2,000 households will receive food or fuel vouchers, cash in the bank or money to cover related essential household costs. This will get to them via voluntary organisations working on the ground in community engagement and foodbanks.
The exact proposed allocation of the Household Support Fund (3) is as follows:
Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health, said:
“Our vision continues to be for a West Northamptonshire, where everyone can live their best life, prosperous and fulfilling, free from poverty and inequality.
“The distribution of this third tranche of the Household Support Fund is directed to primarily funding the lower income sector of the working community, and families with children. This is closely aligned to the areas of deprivation within the region, thus ensuring that the communities living in areas of highest poverty are prioritised.
“The distribution of these funds will meet the wider communities’ financial needs, where other grants and funding are not available. It provides real benefit to underpin the West Northamptonshire Anti-Poverty Strategy and ensure residents most in need receive support.
“We are building on the successful Household Support Fund (2) partnership with the VCSE in distributing funds via the downstream voluntary organisations to residents that may not otherwise be identified through the benefits system.
“We know the pressures many are currently facing, which is why it is proposed that this fund targets support to these most vulnerable households across the county.”
Details of how to access the available funds will be publicised in the coming weeks.
WNC's website will be used for applications from the sector who are working but remain on a low salary. Individuals will be able to apply for further financial relief through an online application process. Details of eligibility terms and how to apply will be released soon.