Department for Work & Pensions grant to help people with rising living costs
Wiltshire Council has received a grant of £2.7m from the Department for Work & Pensions' £421 million national Household Support Grant Scheme to help support people in the county that are struggling to cope with the impact of the recent cost of living increases.
The Department for Work & Pensions national Household Support Grant Scheme is designed to support those most in need across England, to help with the significantly rising living costs in the period up to the end of March 2023.
The money can be used to support households in the most need who would otherwise struggle with energy bills, food and water bills, particularly those who may not be eligible for the other support that the Government has recently made available but who are nevertheless in need.
The council has been awarded £2,728,656 in total and has worked with partner agencies to allocate the money and ensure it gets to those who need it most. Payments began in October and are continuing to be made. People do not need to apply to Wiltshire Council as those eligible will be identified and contacted.
The money will be used to help as many people as possible, including low-income families with children, low-income working age households, residents who are receiving support from Children's and Adults' Social Care Services or the council's housing department, who are struggling with household bills.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "We are committed to doing all we can to support people in our county at this difficult time and this money will be used to support people of all ages who are struggling due to the increasing cost of living pressures, particularly those who may not have been eligible for the other support that the Government has recently made available but who are nevertheless in need.
"We're pleased to be working with partners including the voluntary sector, food banks, churches and projects helping the vulnerable to get this money out as it is vital it gets to the right people as quickly as possible."
The money will be used for the following initiatives:
- Food payments during school holiday periods, including Easter 2023 for families who are eligible for free school meals/ Better2Gether Funding (free childcare for two-year olds) and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). Payments will be made via schools and settings to all those currently in receipt of payments.
- Families with school age children who are eligible for free school meals but not currently claiming them can apply directly to Wiltshire Council by using the form at Free school meals
- For families with younger children eligible for Better2Gether Funding or Early Years Pupil Premium, should contact the child's setting directly to apply.
- Families who are already claiming this funding should contact their child's school or setting if they have a query regarding the additional holiday payments.
- Financial contribution to low-income households with school-age children who are not eligible for the food payments will be made for the winter holiday period with arrangements to be made via schools
- Low-income working age households in receipt of council tax reduction and within a protected group and those households who are wholly or partially reliant on Universal Credit will receive payments directly
- Vouchers for food and utility bills for those in temporary accommodation, supported accommodation or those recently moved into permanent accommodation who require additional support paid via the council's housing department,
- Vouchers and support will also be made available to residents who are receiving support from Children's and Adults' Social Care Services who are struggling with household bills.
- The council's library service will be providing residents with access to a free warm space to sit, stay and take part in activities. Funding will be used to provide warm drinks where possible and all libraries will be collection points for warm packs for those who would benefit from some free essentials. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-news.
- Food banks and linked projects will be funded to ensure they are able to purchase and provide food to those most in need
In addition to this support, Wiltshire Council has also provided funding to Wiltshire Community Foundation and partners to deliver support under the Surviving Winter campaign which provides practical and financial help for people living in fuel poverty. From 1 November, people who are in receipt of means-tested benefit and are aged over 65 or suffer from a long-term health condition, may be eligible for assistance including fuel vouchers and a range of advice. For more information about eligibility and the help available contact Warm and Safe Wiltshire on 0800 038 5722 email email@example.com.
Funding is also being provided to Age UK Wiltshire for provision and delivery of hot meals to isolated elderly residents who are unable to meet the cost of this service themselves; for further information contact Age UK Community Meals on 01793 279606
The Wiltshire Council website contains further information on support available on its cost-of-living webpages which can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living.
If anyone does not have internet access and have no family member, friend or neighbour that can assist, they can contact the council on 0300 456 0100 and someone will be able to view the information on their behalf.