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Help for people struggling to eat or pay bills

Help for people struggling to eat or pay bills

18 October 2022
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A young boy smiles as he puts spaghetti into his mouth

Residents who are struggling with the cost of living crisis can now apply for financial help from organisations in Wokingham Borough.


A new round of the Household Support Fund is now open, with funds aiming to help those with children or with bills or household essentials.


This is being organised through the Hardship Alliance, a group of five local charities (Citizens Advice Wokingham, First Days Children’s Charity, Age UK Berkshire, Wokingham Foodbank and Wokingham United Charities) and Wokingham Borough Council.

Apply for food or bills help


Anyone struggling to pay for food, energy bills and other household essentials can apply to get help. Submit one application per household, you can apply by:


Help if your child gets free school meals

Pupils getting means-tested free school meals can get £15 per week, per eligible child, during the school holidays. This applies for half terms, Christmas and Easter holidays up the May 2023 half-term.


Amy Garstang, chair of the Hardship Alliance and Manager at Wokingham United Charities, said: “This fund will support the vulnerable people in our area quickly and ensure we get them the help they need.


“Financial pressures continue to squeeze more members of our communities into problems they may not have faced before. These grants can provide a lifeline to those in need.”

Hundreds already supported


This round of the Household Support Fund follows an earlier round this year where hundreds of those most vulnerable and in need of support were given help.


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: “Many Wokingham borough residents are struggling with the sudden increase in the cost of living. 


“We are seeing people struggling who have never needed to ask for help before.  Wokingham Borough Council will work closely with our voluntary and community sector partners to do everything in our power to help. 


“If you need support, please get in touch with our voluntary and community sector partners as soon as possible. 


“In addition to the Household Support Fund to help those who are struggling to pay for food and other essentials, they can help or can direct you to other sources of support on other challenges including debt; benefit claims; mental health; isolation; and unfair dismissal. 


“If you are struggling to pay council tax or rent, please talk directly to the council.  We are particularly concerned about residents who live alone, are older or have a disability.  Please look out for friends, relatives and neighbours and pass this information onto anyone who you think might need it.”

Other support if you're struggling


Other support is available for residents, including:


For more information on support available, visit the cost of living help hub on the council’s website.

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