Further support to help households tackle the rise in the cost of living and keep warm in the winter is being made available to eligible residents.
The Household Support Fund is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions and is being rolled out for the fourth time until 31 March 2024 to provide households with access to food, energy, water and other essentials.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council is working closely with local community partners to help households most in need.
Citizens Advice BCP will be giving out Household Support Fund grants to provide short-term financial support to help local low-income households struggling with food and energy bills. The fund reopens for applications on Monday 16 October until 10 November.
The fund will continue to provide food vouchers during school holidays to eligible families through schools. For those families with under five-year-olds, please contact the Family Information Service.
BCP Council is working closely with Ridgewater Energy and existing schemes to help keep people warm in their homes by providing home insulation grants and money and energy saving advice.
They can provide home visits to help reduce energy costs and advice on damp and condensation. Community talks and workshops in local venues are also planned over the winter.
Councillor Millie Earl, Deputy Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio holder for Connected Communities said:
“The cost-of-living crisis means many individuals and families are having to make difficult decisions, especially with the increase in food and fuel.
“As we head into the winter months, if you are struggling financially, there is support in place and I would encourage you to reach out to our partners for help. This support includes the new round of Household Support Fund grants at Citizens Advice which opens today.”
“I would like to thank our partner organisations and community groups for their tireless work providing crucial help to local households.”
Zoe Bradley, Chief Executive Officer for Citizen’s Advice BCP said:
“Over the past ten months, we have supported more residents in crisis than ever before.
“The Household Support Fund continues to be a lifeline for thousands of households across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
“We continue to be grateful for both the patience demonstrated by our residents when awaiting grant support and for the support of the partner organisations we work alongside across the voluntary sector, public sector, and health sector.”
The Household Support Fund has also provided grants to local community groups and organisations to support households through the BCP Food and Energy Support Fund, administered by Dorset Community Foundation.
Earlier this year, nearly £300,000 was provided in grants to 34 projects working with BCP residents, including access to food, creating warm welcome spaces and other community initiatives.
Betty Wortley lives in Bournemouth and is the project coordinator at Lifehouse Foodbank in Moordown. She runs a voucher scheme to help low-income households receive fresh food from a local butcher and greengrocer. She said:
“The money from the Household Support Fund has enabled this project which has resulted in a real connection with the local community.
“It’s a scheme that works well, as it’s small and local, enabling local businesses to work together to help people access food.
“Families are helped by accessing good quality food and this had benefits for their health, their finances and their relationship with local shops. It also helps those with medical conditions who benefitted from having fresh produce.”
Residents can also access cost-of-living information online and at the local libraries.
To find out more about the Household Support Fund please visit https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/householdsupport/.