Households who are struggling to afford food, energy and water bills this winter are to receive support through the Household Support Fund scheme delivered through BCP Council and its partners.
Councillors at today’s Cabinet meeting (27 October 2021) approved the co-ordinated approach to allocate and enable access to £2.6m grant funding for the following:
• Establish a flexible food voucher scheme to provide food support through the holiday periods and help children, young people and their families who are identified as needing support.
• Approve the allocation of £90,000 for support with keeping warm through the provision of school uniform, coats and shoes.
• Approve the allocation of £270,000 funding to Citizen’s Advice BCP to provide advice and support to residents with utility bills and ‘winter warmth’ costs through a discretionary grant scheme between November and the end of March 2022.
• Approve the allocation of £80,000 funding to Dorset Community Foundation to administer grant funding to voluntary and community organisations providing food and fuel support between November 2021 and the end of March 2022.
• Approve the allocation of £60,000 to support the increased demand on community food provision (food banks etc.) through the Access to Food Partnership.
Some funding has already been released to ensure eligible families with children and young people can access flexible food vouchers during October half term.
Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID resilience, schools and skills, said: “With the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase in food and fuel bills we know that many people will be really struggling and experiencing financial hardship this winter. We will be working closely with our partners including schools and Citizen’s Advice BCP to ensure those households that are most in need can access help.”
Ways to access help through the Household Support Fund will be widely publicised as soon as possible.