Plymouth City Council will distribute food and fuel support worth more than £900k to families in need as part of the Government’s COVID Winter Grant Scheme over the coming months.
The scheme will provide support to vulnerable households and families with children particularly affected by the pandemic throughout the winter period, where alternative sources of assistance may be unavailable.
With the funding ring-fenced to support with food and essential utility costs, it will allow help to reach the hardest-hit families and individuals over the winter period.
The COVID Winter Grant Scheme will ensure support will be provided over the Christmas holidays to all eligible children.
The Council will be sending batches of unique food e-voucher codes to city schools from Thursday 10 December for them to distribute to all families on their FSM registers. Each code can be used once to redeem vouchers to the value of £30 per child (£15 per week for the two weeks of school holidays) at various supermarkets.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing and Co-operative Development, said: “We know all too well the devastating impact the pandemic is having on the lives of many people across the city and throughout these difficult and uncertain times it has been our absolute priority to protect our most vulnerable residents. Our immediate focus is on the provision of food and other support to our most vulnerable households in the run up to and over the Christmas period.”
As well as supporting the families of children who are eligible for free school meals the funding will also be used to provide support with Winter warmth essentials to eligible households. The Council has partnered with Plymouth Energy Community to distribute £250k of these funds to people at risk of fuel poverty as a result of the impacts of the pandemic. Full details of how to apply will be released soon and the first grants issued in the New Year.
In line with national guidance the following households will be eligible for support under the Winter Grant programme:
Households with children that are in receipt of any benefits
Households (including statutory provision) with children that are recognised as vulnerable and are in receipt of statutory support
Households without children that are struggling to access food or are in arrears with utility costs. These households will only be eligible for support if they are on benefits and can evidence that they cannot pay for food or fuel (evidence will be needed in both cases)
There is also a wide range of organisations that provide food this winter and particularly at Christmas. The Box food parcels which provides ingredients for cooking a meal and presents for children. All the information and support available is listed on Plymouth On-line Directory.
Some of the fuel poverty element of the grant will also be used to support homeless people and families to move on from Bed and Breakfast and other forms of temporary accommodation. The Council’s Community Connections team will work with PEC to support people with fuel debt and white goods, both of which can be barriers to people moving into permanent accommodation.
Full details of the COVID Winter Support Grant and other support available to residents impacted by the pandemic can be found at www.plymouth.gov.uk/coronaviruscovid19information/ineedhelp
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