The Hardship Alliance, a group of four local charities and Wokingham Borough Council, is pleased to announce that the second phase of the Household Support Fund is now live in Wokingham Borough.
Like the first phase, the council is working with Citizens Advice Wokingham, First Days Children’s Charity, AgeUK Berkshire, and Wokingham United Charities to distribute the funding it has received from Central Government.
The Hardship Alliance has agreed it will focus on supporting households in the most need, particularly those with children and pensioners, in line with government guidance:
- Families with children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals can apply for a one-off £90 voucher (equating to £15 per week) for each child to cover the summer holidays. Please contact One Front Door or First Days Children’s Charity to apply. This replaces previous voucher schemes administered by schools and is for children living in the borough, irrespective of where they go to school.
- Older people of state pension age can apply for a one-off food, fuel, or cash voucher through AgeUK Berkshire or One Front Door.
- Anyone else who is struggling to pay for food, energy bills and other household essentials is encouraged to come forward for help by contacting One Front Door.
How to apply
One Front Door is a service led by Citizens Advice Wokingham, in partnership with local charities and the council. To apply for any of the support above, fill in the form on the website, email email@example.com, or phone 0808 278 7958, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. The team can also check applicants are getting all the other support they’re entitled to.
Alternatively, you can contact First Days on 0118 921 9338 or firstname.lastname@example.org for support with free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays, or AgeUK Berkshire on 0118 959 4242 or email@example.com if you are of state pension age.
Together with the Hardship Alliance
Amy Garstang, Chair of the Hardship Alliance and Manager at Wokingham United Charities, said: “During the first phase of the Household Support Fund, it was evident that these grants were a lifeline to so many residents. The Hardship Alliance are pleased to be involved again in offering this support. We know that now, more than ever, there is likely to be even more people facing financial pressure given the rising cost of living.
"Getting support to those in need is our priority and we want to provide a helping hand. Wokingham Borough is fortunate to have such a well-establish voluntary and community sector and we really want to encourage people to reach out if they are struggling to access the help available.”
Cllr Clive Jones, the new Leader of Wokingham Borough Council said: “The rising cost of living is having a severe impact on many households in the borough. We want to do everything we can to support people, particularly when it comes to ensuring no child goes without food over the holidays.
"While we don’t know what extra support Central Government will provide over the autumn and winter months yet, we hope to be able to build on this offering and help our most vulnerable households.”
Rachel Bishop-Firth, the new executive member for equalities, inclusion and fighting poverty said: “The Tackling Poverty Strategy, which has been co-produced with the Hardship Alliance, will also be published this month, alongside its dedicated Action Plan. This focuses on supporting residents who are struggling financially, and we look forward to bringing it to life.”
Help is here
The council is reminding residents of the support available if they need it:
For more information about support you may be able to access, please visit the council’s online Local Support Hub.
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