Around 50,000 Nottinghamshire households struggling to make ends meet due to the current rise in living costs are set to get extra support this winter.
The third round of the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF) is expected* to allocate around £5.6m to the county and will once again be administered by Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with its borough and district council partners between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.
HSF had already seen two sets of £5.6 million funds provide food vouchers to those children entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) during school holidays and financial support given to households and individuals most in need of help to cover essential household costs, such as food, energy, and water bills.
So far, the county council has delivered the following support as part of the second round of HSF, which ends on 30 September:
- £2.85 million worth of holiday food vouchers benefitting more than 32,000 children eligible or an equivalence of eligibility to Free School Meals (FSM) during three sets of school holidays;
- More than £1.9 million being distributed to help more than 15,000 vulnerable people of a pensionable age;
- More than £260,000 to help around 3,000 households in need where the occupants are not of pensionable age and have no children.
For the forthcoming third round, a one-off Winter Support voucher payment will be worth around a £100 for each household to use towards energy and food bills.
The final amount per household will be proportionately adjusted based on the number of eligible people in the household to help with extra food costs.
The plans include:
- £2 million to be shared among households with children in receipt of free school meals, or with children five or under with an equivalent eligibility;
- £1.55 million to be shared among households where one or more person is in receipt of or eligible for pension credit;
- £1.53 million to be shared among any other households who maybe facing significant cost of living challenges, particularly those who may not be eligible for other government support;
- £210,000 to be used towards discretionary housing payments to help those who face homelessness;
Councillor John Cottee, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We recognise the financial difficulties faced by some households across the county and not just for those in receipt of benefits.
“Therefore, we have listened to those working on the frontline such as benefits teams, housing officers and social workers to find the fairest way to distribute these new funds, which we expect to be in the region of £5.6 million across the whole county.
“We’ve had to make some difficult decisions, as we want the money to be shared among as many households in need as possible, including those who are homeless and also those who often miss out as they don’t quite meet eligibility for benefits or other support, but continue to struggle to make ends meet.
“This funding will once again go some way to easing the financial worries for households who face the challenges and pressures of rising household energy and food costs.”
Councillor Tracey Taylor, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said the latest round of funding will build on the county council’s work to deliver support for those struggling to make ends meet.
She said: “This once again reaffirms our commitment to helping households who are most in need of support, including helping low-income households with children entitled to free school meals or equivalent.
“Like other counties, we’ve had to make some tough decisions to make the sums add up.
“We are proud to have provided food vouchers to those children entitled to free school meals during school holidays for the last two HSF rounds, but due to pressures so many families are facing, we’ve looked at the data and advice of the front-line professionals and this time we are making a one-off winter support voucher payment based on the size of the household.
“This is the fairest way to spread these funds as widely as possible to make sure as many people get the help they need.
“This support is in addition to other continuing schemes to support the wellbeing of children in the county, including our Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) which focuses on supporting youngsters to improve their knowledge of health and nutrition and encouraging them to eat more healthily and be more active during school holidays.”
*Official confirmation of the expected £5.6 million amount is still to be made by the Government, therefore further details of how and when the Winter Support vouchers will be rolled out is due to be announced in the coming weeks.
It is expected most of the Winter Support vouchers will be allocated directly to households based on eligibility criteria, however an application process is planned to help identify those struggling households not eligible for other government cost of living support.
For other financial support, a dedicated webpage is here: