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Government cash to help people survive the winter

November 12, 2021 7:22 AM
By WC

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


The Government's £421 million national Household Support Grant Scheme was made available in early October 2021 to support those most in need with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other essential costs.


The council got £2,728,656.


The aim of the scheme is to give vulnerable households peace of mind in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months by helping to make sure they have food and other essentials, such as heat and electric.


The money will be used for the following initiatives delivered by Wiltshire Council; there is no need for people to apply for funding. Eligible people will be identified and contacted individually via:

  • Food payments during the school holidays from last month's half term up to and including Easter for families who are eligible for free school meals/ Better2Gether Funding (free childcare for two-year olds) and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). 
  • Providing financial contributions to low-income households with children who are not eligible for the above food payments as well as to low-income households without children. These one-off payments will be made directly to working age low-income residents who are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction. Eligible people will be contacted directly.
  • Support for rough sleepers with money for food, and energy set-up costs at new accommodation as well as support for those at risk of homelessness; this will be administered by the council's Housing Department
  • Supporting Wiltshire Council tenants with fuel and food costs; this will be administered by the council's Housing Department
  • Financial support for Food Banks and linked projects to ensure they are able to purchase and provide food to those most in need

More information can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefits/household-support-grant-winter.

In addition to this support, Wiltshire Council has provided funding for the following initiatives, and people are asked to contact the relevant partner organisations for any more information they may need:

  • Support for older and vulnerable people with underlying health conditions - Wiltshire Community Foundation's Surviving Winter campaign 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 help available contact Warm and Safe Wiltshire on 0800 038 5722.
  • Providing financial assistance to elderly residents affected by food poverty and rural isolation who are registered for Age UK's warm meals service; for further information contact Age UK Community Meals on 01793 279606
  • Providing fuel poverty support for those most in need - for households of working age earning less than the Real Living Wage and suffering with isolation, anxiety and mental health, or from a hard-to-reach community like visually impaired, hard of hearing, and boaters and travellers. Eligible residents can contact Warm and Safe Wiltshire on 0800 038 5722 or email warmandsafe@cse.org.uk or visit www.warmandsafewiltshire.org.uk

If people do not have internet access, they can contact the council by phone on 0300 456 0100.

The Wellbeing Hub at Wiltshire Council remains available in order to provide support and signposting for all residents across Wiltshire, as part of the response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The hub can be contacted by telephoning 0300 003 4576 or via e mail at Wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Notes:

Food payments during school holiday: payments will be made via schools and settings to all those currently in receipt of payments.  Due to the timing of the national announcements, families will have received payment for the October holiday during the first week of November; all future holiday payments will be made in advance of the holidays.  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 on the council website. 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.

The council website contains further details of the scheme and payments as well as information on alternative sources of support available to residents. This includes the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (Help in a crisis - Wiltshire Council) which is an existing scheme that provides critical short-term assistance to those in crisis and in receipt of welfare benefits.

Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub: The hub opening times are Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm. On Saturdays people can contact the Wellbeing Hub through the council's Emergency Duty Service by telephoning 0300 456 0100 should an immediate response be required. The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub has a team of trained staff who welcome enquiries, and can give information about Government guidelines, current restrictions, travel, finance and hardship, local support, and the Voluntary Sector.