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Help paying for food and energy after Christmas

Help paying for food and energy after Christmas

13 January 2023
[ Zoom ]
Lady keeping warm under a blanket eating from a bowl

People struggling to pay bills or buy food can apply for a £120 grant to help them get through the winter.

Many in Wokingham Borough will be struggling more than ever due to the cost of living crisis.

Help is at hand thanks to the Household Support Fund, which has supported more than 2,000 households already.

The grant is paid through funding from the Government, issued by Wokingham Borough Council’s Hardship Alliance partners in the voluntary and community sector (Age UK Berkshire, Citizens Advice Wokingham, First Days Children’s Charity, Wokingham Foodbank and Wokingham United Charities).

£500,000 to support the community

More than £500,000 will be spent this winter through the fund to help people who are struggling with the cost of living.

Families across the borough are using the money to help them get by while they find their feet.

One family said: “I want to let you know I have found a job and won’t need the vouchers going forward. 

“You’ve been an absolute lifesaver for me and my daughter in difficult times so thank you very much for all the support the past year." 

Apply for a grant if you're struggling

Residents who are struggling to pay their energy bills or buy food after Christmas can apply online or by phone. 

Our partners can provide £120 with a food, fuel or cash voucher:

If your child receives means-tested free school meals

Instead of applying as above, if your child receives means-tested free school meals you should apply through First Days Children’s Charity.

You can get £15 per week, per eligible child, during school holidays. This applies for February half term and the Easter Holidays. 

It will be back paid for Christmas and October half-term school holidays even if you apply now, meaning you will get £120 or more in support.

'Many are choosing between heating and eating'

Amy Garstang, chair of the Hardship Alliance and manager at Wokingham United Charities, said: “The Household Support Fund is still available to any resident who is struggling to pay their energy bills or buy food.

“The festive period can be expensive and mean some residents are left in trouble with their finances. No one should be suffering in the cold or going hungry – if you are apply for a grant.”

Cllr Rachel Bishop-Firth, executive member for equalities, inclusion and fighting poverty, who is leading the council’s response to the cost of living crisis, said: “The rising cost of living means many people are now having to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table.

“This fund can provide a lifeline to people who are struggling, especially if they are struggling due to the cost of living crisis. Applications are easily done online or on the phone, whatever is easiest for you.”

Future support

Household Support Fund grants are open for applications until March, unless you have already applied since September.

Future rounds will be available later in the year after the Government announced further funding. 

The council and its partners will make announcements for future rounds, open to all again, later this year.

The Hardship Alliance is leading the borough’s response to the cost of living crisis. It was formed in January 2022 to tackle poverty in the borough. 

What is the Hardship Alliance?

Members of the Hardship Alliance are Age UK Berkshire, Citizens Advice Wokingham, Wokingham Foodbank, Wokingham United Charities First Days and Wokingham Borough Council. 

The alliance is finalising a booklet with advice on the cost of living, which will go through doors in a few weeks’ time. This will help those who are not online know what support is available and how to get it.

All the latest cost of living help and advice for the borough can be found on the cost of living help hub.

More from Wokingham Borough Council

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