Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed a comprehensive package of continuing support for residents struggling with cost of living pressures.
The council has been allocated a further £4.8 million of Household Support Fund money from the Department for Work and Pensions to provide support until March 2024. It’s now set out how the funding will be used to provide the best help possible to residents who need it most.
The council recognises the cost of living pressures have not gone away and high inflation and recent annual bill rises are continuing to impact households across the county. The council is pleased the funding is for a full twelve months of support. The Cabinet has agreed to continue with a range of initiatives to help local households, including its flagship Helping Hand service.
The Council will spend the new tranche of money in the same way it has done previously, by providing food vouchers to eligible residents, direct support through the Helping Hand service and using the funds to support local organisations like food banks, which are providing vital community-based support.
The full support to run until end March 2024 agreed this morning is as follows:
- £700,381 will fund direct support through the Helping Hand service – that residents can contact if they’re facing financial hardship.
- £2.25 million will be spent on food support through food vouchers for eligible children and young people through school holidays and other eligible groups including Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.
- £400,000 will help fund voluntary and community organisations that provide free, essential support to residents such as food banks.
- £500,000 will be made available as grants or direct support in regard to utility arrears, administered via applications to the Helping Hand Fund managed by local charity ‘Heart of Bucks’.
- £600,000 will provide targeted support for other vulnerable groups such as care-leavers, pensioners and residents with disabilities and / or caring responsibilities; this will be available through digital vouchers or other appropriate support.
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Working out the best and fairest way to allocate these funds so they reach those most in need is critically important to us, so I’m really pleased we’ve agreed this further package of support today. Councils are able to devise their own schemes to spend the Household Support Fund so long as they are within the parameters set out by government, and here in Buckinghamshire our priority is to use the funds so they really make a difference. We’re among those with the most far-reaching range of support available including setting up the Heart of Bucks crisis fund, unique to Buckinghamshire.
Through our Helping Hand service we’ve been able to provide really tailored solutions to really make a difference. No two cases or referrals are the same and are often complex; from helping a young man with living costs who had fled domestic abuse, to helping a father and 15 year old son whose mother had died and who were subsequently struggling financially. I’m proud of the collaborative work our Helping Hand service and community organisations are doing to make a vital difference to families and individuals in Buckinghamshire who are facing significant need and hardship.‘
*Source of information : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.