The Household Support Fund (HSF) is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. The government released a fourth round to extend funding until the end of March 2024 to help households struggling with the costs of living.
If you are not a Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council resident, please contact your local council for details of their scheme.
Household food and energy bills support
Citizens Advice Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are managing some of the Fund on our behalf and providing household grants to help with the costs of food and fuel bills.
To be eligible you:
- must live in the BCP Council area You will be over the age of 16 and living independently of parents or carers
- are struggling to pay for essentials because you don’t have enough money to pay for them
- can provide the required proof of your identity, BCP Council residency and household financial information, including a summary for every person in your household not in full-time education. You may also be required to provide proof of income, such as a recent bank statement
Criteria is based on need of support and eligibility. Demand for the HSF grant is high and it may take 8 weeks for your application to be processed. We cannot guarantee that you will receive the grant and your application may be rejected due to lack of funds.
We will support as many applicants as possible but the funds are limited compared to number of applications we receive.
When to apply
The Fund will be open to applications on the following dates:
- Monday 15 January until Friday 9 February 2024
Please visit the Citizens Advice Get Advice page for details of current drop-in services and locations as well as Community Advice Vehicle locations.
School holiday food vouchers
The Household Support Fund will continue to fund food vouchers of £15 per child per week during every school holiday throughout the year for children receiving free school meals and at the school’s discretion for those identified in financial hardship, Vouchers are issued via BCP schools. Schools will issue vouchers directly to families and you do not need to apply.
Food vouchers over the holiday period may be available for children under 5 years if certain criteria are met. To receive a voucher, children must be living in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole and meet one of the following criteria:
- currently claiming 2 year old early education funding at an early years setting in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole during the term
- currently claiming Early Years Pupil Premium funding for 3 and 4 year olds at an early years setting in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole during the term. Please note this is different to the early education funding available to all 3 and 4 year olds
- currently have an open case with a social worker and/or Early Help family support worker and of pre-school age
Claims for a food voucher for an under 5 child is made via an application form process which will be available prior to each holiday period. Please keep checking the Family Information Team's Facebook page to see when the application form to apply becomes available or contact the Family Information Service on 01202 093131.
Help with saving energy and keeping warm
BCP Council is working with existing local energy partners and schemes such as Dorset Healthy Homes and Local Energy Advice Partnership.
Ridgewater Energy can help provide more information on what is available.
Please note that eligibility criteria varies per scheme and the following may be available to you:
- Free loft and cavity wall insulation grants
- Energy Advice home visits
- Free advice and energy saving measures, such as LED lightbulbs, draught proofing measures
- Advice to those that may need an emergency boiler repair or support with household white goods and energy saving appliances (practitioner referrals only)
- Energy and money saving booklets available at community venues across the conurbation
For full details and eligibility criteria please visit the Ridgewater Energy website or call 01202 612726.
BCP Food and Energy Support Fund for the local voluntary and community sector
BCP Council is working with Dorset Community Foundation to provide the BCP Food and Energy Support Fund, a small grants scheme to the voluntary and community sector. With support of our partners we have already distributed £300,000 to community projects and initiatives which are for the benefit of local communities, particularly focused on helping people to access food and who may be struggling with energy costs.
Applications can be made by registered charities, constituted community and voluntary organisations, community interest companies and social enterprises.
Round 1 has now closed. Grants of up to £15,000 have been issued to 32 local community projects.
Round 2 will be available in the Autumn, offering grants of up to £7,500 to support additional winter activities such as Warm Welcome spaces and other food and energy initiatives. Groups who did not apply in the first round will be a priority.
Other support and advice
Cost of living posters and flyers
We have created posters and flyers to be printed: