Councils in England are being given more money to help vulnerable families in April via The Household Support Fund. Each local authority will get a share of £842m as part of the scheme, which aims to help people struggling with rocketing energy and food costs.
Information on getting hold of the new funding should update on council websites over the next few weeks. But different approaches are being taken by councils, as it is up to them how they spend the money.
For example, Derbyshire Council has previously sent out food vouchers to those most in need, while Wokingham Council sent out “energy saving packs” to the vulnerable including air fryers, slow cookers and heated blankets.
The latest chunk of funding is designed to last for a year, but in some areas money has run out within a matter of weeks as demand has been so high amid the cost of living crisis. Inflation remains at a 40-year high, pushing up the price of basic food items, while many are struggling to pay for their energy.
Most councils have decided to focus on supporting disabled people, the elderly, those with large families and single parent households. Councils in poorer areas will receive more funding, and the devolved nations will be given equivalent funding, the government said.
Birmingham Council will get the most funding at more than £25m, which it is due to receive in April. Kent Council will get £22m, Lancashire will receive £19m and Essex will get £18m.
Although April’s boost via the fund is twice as much as the amount given over the past six months, demand is likely to be even higher. Increased energy and food prices throughout the winter mean that more people are now considered vulnerable.