Household Support Fund will help thousands in Hertfordshire this winter

Community groups, organisations and charities who work to reduce or improve food and energy poverty locally, are invited to apply for grants for up to £5,000

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 8:33 am

Hertfordshire has been provided with £6.172m funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF), as part of the nationwide efforts to recover following the pandemic.

This funding will be used to help people in need this winter with things like the cost of food and energy.

Hertfordshire County Council is working with a range of partners across the county to make sure they can get the right help to those who need it, at the right time.

Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts with Small Acts of Kindness, who are just one of the community organisations receiving support from the HSF

This targeted approach will mean that residents can be supported and get professional assistance from the county council, borough and district councils and organisations such as HertsHelp, the council's Money Advice Service and local Citizens Advice services.

The council has agreed that one of the ways it can help residents is to provide supermarket vouchers for families receiving benefit related free school meals during the Christmas, February half-term and Easter holidays in 2021/22.

During October half-term, the council spent over £400,000 providing supermarket vouchers to more than 27,000 children and young people. As with October, schools and colleges will contact parents and carers who are already in receipt of free school meals directly.

Support with the cost of food and household essentials will also be provided to families with children aged up to 19 who are identified through public and voluntary services as needing a little extra help; the council will also look to support young people leaving care. Again, these services will contact families and young people directly about ways that we can help.

Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts

Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts, said: “We welcome the funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund, which in Hertfordshire will go towards helping those most in need to get back on their feet following the height of the pandemic.

“No one should go cold or hungry this winter. We’ll be working hard with our partners to make sure that is a reality and that people feel supported to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives in our county.”

Energy continues to be a worry for many, and not just older residents. Through a countywide crisis support and information and advice services, the council will be able to help people in financial need practically, but also to understand and better manage the cost of fuelling their homes.

Hertfordshire County Council has considered the diverse communities in Hertfordshire and will be working closely with faith groups and community information champions to reach out to help as many people as possible to access support they need.

There is provision to offer some assistance to people in crisis with housing costs, this will be managed at a local level when a need for support is identified for a resident by their district or borough council.

Community groups, organisations and charities who work to reduce or improve food and energy poverty locally, are invited to apply for grants for up to £5,000 from the council's partnership with Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

HertsHelp offer advice and practical support to people across Hertfordshire. They may be able to offer emergency help with essentials like the cost of food, household utilities, water and energy bills.

They can also help if you are worried about finances and with emotional support and wellbeing.

If you need help, regardless of whether you qualify for benefits, call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044, email [email protected] or visit www.hertshelp.net.

To check if you are eligible for free school meals and to apply visit: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals.