Winter warmer

A support package has been prepared for those most in need as winter looms.

A total of £4.8m of Household Support Fund from the Department for Work and Pensions is being used to provide a wide range of support to residents. The fund is also being used to provide grants to food and welfare voluntary and community support organisations, to help those struggling with the ongoing cost of living.

Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett and Cabinet Member for Communities, Arif Hussain, welcomed Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, to the county as part of ‘Household Support Fund Awareness Week’, to see how the Household Support Fund is helping people.

They visited one of the local organisations that has received funding from the Helping Hand service. The Monthly Monday Meals programme at Buckinghamshire New University offers students a free monthly recipe kit and meal bag, as well as access to an online cookery course to learn how to prepare healthy and budget friendly meals.

The fund supports the council’s Helping Hand service, which assesses applications for financial help and points residents to the most appropriate support.

Since April this year, using the Household Support Fund money, the council’s Helping Hand service has:

* Managed 5,120 applications for support
* Helped 2,540 residents with bespoke support
* Referred 1,709 households to local food banks
* Funded 1200 white goods and essential items
* Issued nearly 30,000 free school meal holidays digital food vouchers during the May and summer school holidays in 2023
* Supported more than 40 food banks and local voluntary organisations.

Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett said: ‘This money allows us to do so much at a time when many of our residents need extra help and I’m very proud of the wide range of support that the council has been able to offer, using the Household Support Fund.

‘It’s a chain of support that is making a huge difference; Government is providing the means, the council is providing a co-ordinating role as well as giving direct help, and our voluntary sector is working hard on the ground with various projects, all meeting people’s needs.’