A community support scheme is being extended into the summer months to help local residents and families who are facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. A government award of £251,371 has been allocated to the council to help towards the COVID summer support scheme.
Local families and individuals who are struggling to afford food and pay their utility bills are being urged to reach out for support from BCP Council and partners.
Citizens Advice BCP are co-ordinating efforts to ensure people can access a range of support they need, which includes help for residents who are struggling to afford utility bills (heating, cooking, lighting) or water bills (including sewerage).
Food support for residents and eligible families, including school food vouchers for half-term, will be available for families and residents through schools, early years settings and BCP Family Information Services.
Following the launch of the Winter Support Scheme, residents have received the following support for food access and winter warmth:
- Citizens Advice BCP awarded £140k in grants, supporting 927 households who were struggling to keep warm in the winter.
- More than 10,000 children have benefitted from food vouchers.
- 681 households received food vouchers through the Together We Can scheme.
- £80k was awarded to local community food groups, offering help to 3616 residents.
- 13 local groups and charities, including foodbanks, community stores/pantries and food projects received small grants providing food to 10,810 beneficiaries.
Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio holder for COVID, Public Health and Education said:
“We welcome the government’s COVID-19 summer support funding which will be essential in enabling us to offer help to the hardest-hit families. Although restrictions are easing, the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, and many residents are struggling due to many factors including loss of jobs, and we would urge our residents to access the support they need”.
If you need help and advice about paying utility bills, call Citizens Advice: 01202 081732 (Mon – Fri / 10am – 4pm) or visit: citizensadvicebcp.org.uk/campaigns/summersupport/
Local residents who need help and advice about accessing food:
- Households with children, contact their school, early years provider or call BCP Council Family Information Service: 01202 093131
- Information on accessing food help and a map of places offering community food support: gov.uk/communityfood