Torbay Council will be getting £2.4 million of funding through the Household Support Fund (HSF) to assist residents with their living costs.
The 12-month funding package, from the fourth round of the HSF, will provide much-needed relief for those struggling to make ends meet.
The money will help a wider range of people than ever before, ensuring that working families and individuals on low incomes – and not just those receiving benefits – get the support they need.
Citizens Advice Torbay has seen fuel-related enquiries more than double from 121 in April 2022 to 272 in December 2022. Just over 75 per cent of these enquiries were from working age customers. Overall, they have received 1378 fuel related enquiries since April 2022, now representing the highest enquiry that they receive.
The HSF money will be spent in a number of ways to ensure as many people as possible benefit:
– Food vouchers issued through the new Family Hubs (£60,000)
– Households with a low disposable income, who are not receiving welfare benefits (includes pension age, unpaid carers, and disabled people – £1.1m)
– Households who are receiving welfare benefits (includes pension age, unpaid carers and disabled people – £450,000)
– Essentials linked to energy and water such as warm clothing and ovens (for those receiving a disability benefit or children under five – £50,000)
– Care experienced young people (£46,200)
– Provision of additional debt and benefit advice (£127,514)
– Food banks (£150,000)
– Social supermarkets (£250,000)
– Baby banks and Homestore (£40,000)
An additional £400,000 from COVID-19 reserves and the Exceptional Hardship Fund will be allocated to the Discretionary Housing Payments budget and Welfare Support fund for next autumn and winter.
Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “We’re well aware that it’s not just households on benefits who are struggling to make ends meet.
“We know from community partners like the Torbay Community Helpline and Citizens Advice Torbay that the cost-of-living crisis is hitting all corners of our community. People who have never previously asked for help are approaching them for aid. The way we’re allocating this funding means we’re helping as many people as possible and not doubling up on support already being offered.”
Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “This funding will put more money in more people’s pockets. We’ll be spending it directly and distributing it through our community partners who are working on the ground with residents.
“Whether people are young or older, in work or out of work, need help with their food costs or their energy bills, help is out there and we urge them to contact us sooner rather than later for assistance.”
The HSF was introduced in October 2021, providing councils with funding to support those in the community most negatively impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. There have so far been three funding schemes, with Torbay receiving an allocation of £1.2million in the last scheme (HSF3).
Previous rounds have paid for warm spaces across Torbay and food support, including holiday meal vouchers for children on free school meals.
This week, Torbay Council released the second in a series of three videos it has produced along with Healthwatch Torbay and Citizens Advice Torbay aimed at supporting residents with the increasing cost of living.
The theme of the video is housing, with advice given on where residents should turn if they are worried about rising rents and bills, housing disrepair or the threat of eviction.
This week also sees the launch of the Easter Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme. Children and young people on free school meals can book onto holiday club sessions during the Easter break. The sessions include a meal. To find out more, go to: Healthy Holidays – Torbay Council
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