An additional £3.5m will be distributed in Nottingham this winter to support struggling pensioners, families and the city’s most vulnerable households amid the rising cost-of-living crisis.
The money has come from the Government’s Household Support Fund and will be given out to people across the city to ease the pressure of increasing energy costs over the coming months.
This is the third round of funding and previously the grant has been used towards a package of help and advice for Nottingham residents who receive Council Tax Support. This has included e-vouchers for energy bills and supermarkets, including throughout the school holidays for pupils who have free school meals (FSM).
The latest award takes the amount distributed to vulnerable people to more than £10m since October 2021.
More than 18,000 FSM children in Nottingham will continue to get supermarket vouchers for the Christmas and February holidays, as well as access to free half-term activities.
The Government has recommended the key focus for this grant will be to support Nottingham households with the cost of energy to help them over the winter months. The council continues to work with community partners and welfare advice agencies to support the most vulnerable residents
All residents who have already been in contact with the council through a community partner or advice agency – and who have received energy vouchers since June through the previous scheme – will automatically receive another £98 of energy vouchers between now and the end of December and do not need to apply again.
Residents who haven’t already applied through one of these organisations can contact them to apply for this round of energy vouchers when new applications open from 14 November. By contacting community partners for help, people will also be able to access a wide range of support including help with food, toiletries and essential supplies.
The key areas where the funding will be spent is as follows:
- Energy support for families and other households: £1.5m
- Supermarket vouchers for free school meal pupils: £1.37m
- Food banks and social-eating projects: £230,000
- Supermarket vouchers for vulnerable households: £150,000
- Help for care leavers: £50,000
- Refugee Support: £40,000
The energy vouchers and wider support will come from Nottingham Advice Centres, Age UK Notts and other local community organisations including Nottingham City Homes and Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, who have experience of working with households in financial crisis.
A full list of these organisations can be found on the council’s webpages here: www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/householdsupportvouchers
This ensures the people in financial crisis will receive:
- Advice about welfare and benefits to help them tackle their problems more sustainably over the longer term;
- The short-term support of energy or food vouchers to help with their immediate needs.
Food banks, advice agencies and charities can further help by checking residents are receiving the benefits they are entitled to and putting people in touch with support services such as safer housing, safer borrowing and debt management.
The funding will also be used to support other vulnerable groups in the city, including extra supplies for food banks and social eating locations, care leavers, asylum seekers and refugees.
Councillor Adele Williams, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “We understand just how hard things continue to be for people across Nottingham at the moment. The cost-of-living crisis has hit our city particularly hard and we understand what it means for pensioners, working families and the vulnerable in our communities.
“We remain committed to supporting Nottingham people through these difficult times and I’m pleased we’ve managed to secure this funding.
“It’s important that money and support reaches those people in the greatest financial crisis. We recognise that energy or food vouchers, though much-needed, are only temporary and partial relief to people.
“The bigger issue is helping them to find ways to manage longer term. We’d therefore urge our residents to contact ourselves or partner support agencies and charities, who can offer advice about finances and the wider support available.
“We hope this support will ease the strain on our most vulnerable households and help pensioners, families and anyone in financial crisis through these difficult times.”
To get support from charities and advice agencies please find your nearest provider here: www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/householdsupportvouchers