The Covid Winter Grant is coming to an end, but the Wokingham Borough Community Response will continue to support residents in need. The last date for inquiries about the Covid Winter Grant scheme is 29 March with applications closing on 31 March. Final payments will be issued by 16 April when the grant period officially ends.
The grant is open to individuals and families who are struggling this winter because of the Covid-19 pandemic to access food, fuel and other essentials. Although the covid winter grant will close in April, support will still be available for residents in need through the Wokingham Borough Community Response’s One Front Door on the Citizens Advice Wokingham’s new free phone number 0808 278 7958.
In December Wokingham Borough Council received £208,000 from the Winter Grant Fund to support residents struggling to feed themselves and their families and to afford fuel to heat their homes over the winter months. Approximately £100,000 of the funding was allocated for food vouchers for children who receive benefits-related free school meals during the Christmas holidays and February half term; £5,000 for food and utilities for young adults who recently left our care (care leavers); and the remaining funds were allocated to support other families and individuals who are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The council agreed to make additional funds available to top up the grant if the government funds were to run out. The grant programme was originally meant to close at the end of March. The government has extended the programme until 16 April, and given the council an additional £72,000.
Cllr John Kaiser, deputy leader of the council, said: “We have supported 2,200 children and young people through food vouchers, 75 care leavers and 260 families and individuals so far through this difficult winter. The covid winter grant is making sure that no family or individual in our borough goes hungry or cold this winter. The government initially gave us about £208,000 to support our residents through this grant scheme and we as a local authority made the decision to top it up. We made a promise to our residents to help them this winter and we are honouring it.”
All residents in Wokingham borough are eligible to apply for the programme for support to help pay for food and utility bills, but can also apply to other essentials such as sanitary products, warm clothing, blankets and boiler service/repair. The programme does not cover rent or mortgage payments. All inquiries must be made by 29 March and applications made by 31 March. Final payments will be issued by 16 April.
Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services, said: “The Covid Winter Grant provides support to our most vulnerable families and individuals. It allowed us to provide free schools meals vouchers during the Christmas holiday and the February half term. Support for children who receive benefits-related free school meals will be available during school holidays for the rest of 2021, using a combination of the Holiday Activities and Food Scheme and food vouchers. For the Easter holidays, we will be giving vouchers for two weeks to all families with children who receive benefits-related free school meals.”
How to apply
To apply, residents should contact the Wokingham Borough Community Response’s One Front Door, run by Citizens Advice Wokingham by calling their new telephone number 0808 278 7958 and mentioning the Covid Winter Grant or by visiting www.citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk/coronavirus/. The One Front Door will assess the resident’s needs and where appropriate make a recommendation to the council for funding from the Covid Winter Grant scheme.
Residents in need can also be signposted or supported to apply for the scheme or a representative can apply on their behalf.
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