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Government grant to help people stay safe, keep warm, and fed this winter

We're working with partners to support people

Published 22 December 2020
Image of winter grant scheme

Wiltshire Council will be using a Government grant to help ensure as many vulnerable people as possible in the county are warm and fed this winter.

The Government's £170 million national COVID Winter Grant Scheme was made available in early December 2020 to support those most in need across England with the cost of food, energy (heating, cooking, lighting), water bills (including sewerage) and other essentials.

Wiltshire Council was awarded £1,107,932.98 as part of the scheme and has worked with partner agencies to agree how the money should be allocated.

The aim of the scheme is to give vulnerable households peace of mind in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months during the pandemic by helping those who need it to have food on the table and other essentials, such as heat and electric, to ensure they are warm and safe.

The money will be used for:

  • Support for older and vulnerable people with underlying health conditions - delivered in partnership with Wiltshire Community Foundation through the Centre for Sustainable Energy's Warm and Safe Wiltshire service and Age UK Wiltshire
  • Support for rough sleepers with money for food, and energy set-up costs at new accommodation - distributed by Wiltshire Council's housing team. The council is working with central government to ensure that all rough sleepers in Wiltshire have the option of some form of accommodation this winter.  This additional money will assist with helping to keep them warm and fed during the winter months
  • Supporting Wiltshire Council tenants who are single or childless couples who have been identified as vulnerable and in financial hardship, to assist with fuel and food costs - distributed by Wiltshire Council's housing team
  • Supporting individual care leavers with a support payment - distributed by Wiltshire Council's social care team
  • Providing fuel poverty support for the traveller and boater communities with households identified for support by Julian House and distributed by Centre for Sustainable Energy. Warm & Safe Wiltshire is a service provided by Wiltshire Council and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, in partnership with CSE, to deliver a comprehensive energy advice service for Wiltshire residents, including those in the Swindon Borough Council area. The partnership has been running since December 2015 and allows people to access a host of support services through a single point-of-contact

There is no need for people to apply to Wiltshire Council for any funding from the Winter Grant Scheme. Eligible people will be identified by the relevant organisation responsible for distributing the different elements of the grant scheme.

The scheme will run until 31 March 2021

Councils have been given discretion by the Government in how they allocate the grant awarded to them. 

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:

Winter can be a tough time for some people, even more so after the events of this year, so we welcome this extra support.

We're pleased to be working with local organisations to get this money out to those who need it most, and we hope it gives those eligible a little bit of comfort and peace of mind and eases the pressure some of them may be feeling.

Paul Winney, Warm and Safe Wiltshire project manager at CSE, said:

The funding received from Wiltshire Council to be able to help residents this winter has been fantastic. I'm very pleased to be working in partnership with Julian House to support the Boater and Traveller community in Wiltshire. The Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice service aims to help those most affected by cold, damp homes and prevent those faced with a difficult choice of going hungry or keeping warm.

Fiona Oliver, Joint Chief Executive, Wiltshire Community Foundation, said:

 We are delighted to be working with Wiltshire Council to support elderly and vulnerable people living in fuel poverty through our Surviving Winter programme. We will be using our excellent partnerships within the voluntary sector and knowledge of the county's hardest hit areas to ensure funding goes where it is needed most.

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub is also available to offer advice on 0300 003 4576 or email wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk for those who don't have a support network around them.

More information about Wiltshire Community Foundation can be found at Wiltshire Community Foundation

More information about Centre for Sustainable Energy and Warm and Safe Wiltshire can be found at Centre for Sustainable Energy

As previously highlighted, the grant will also be used for the following:

Food payments during the next three school holidays for families who are eligible for free school meals/ Better2Gether Funding (free childcare for two-year olds) and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). - press release with more information on this element issued on 3 December.  Payments will be made by schools and settings to all those currently in receipt of payments.  Families with school age children who are eligible but currently do not have free school meals should apply directly to Wiltshire Council by using the form on the council website. For families with younger children eligible for Better2Gether Funding  or Early Years Pupil Premium, they should contact the child's setting directly to apply.

Published 22 December 2020
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