New £3.7m funding to provide wide-ranging Kirklees support for those facing financial hardship

Kirklees Council will receive just over £3.7m of government funding to support the district’s most vulnerable residents

Friday, 26th November 2021, 1:47 pm
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 1:51 pm
£3.7m of government funding will be used to support the district’s most vulnerable residents

Aimed at supporting households who are most struggling with payments for food, energy and water bills, as well as other essential costs, this funding is now being made available to some of Kirklees’ most vulnerable residents.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “Supporting our most vulnerable residents is Kirklees Council’s top priority. We know that poverty and inequality are long-standing issues, and that the last few years have hit those who were already struggling the hardest.

“We’re glad to be able to offer more help to those most in need, and in a way that takes into account the wide range of issues faced by those facing financial hardship.”

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Potential support provided

Because many of Kirklees’ most vulnerable households struggle with a wide range of difficulties, there will also be a wide range of potential support to meet differing needs.

The fund is primarily for support with food. This may be in the form of food, vouchers, or cash. The council is working with partners, including schools, colleges and foodbanks to help ensure that no-one goes hungry this winter.

For families who qualify for means-tested Free School Meals, part of this funding has already been allocated to provide additional financial support for the October holiday, benefitting more than 16,500 children across Kirklees. For those same children, at least £50 per child will be provided for the December holiday, and at least £25 per child for the February holiday for help towards food and fuel.

Financial support will be available for utility bills, this includes any form of fuel, and water bills.

The funding can also be used to support with essential costs linked to energy and water, including boiler repairs, warm clothing and blankets, as well as soap and sanitary products, and the purchase of equipment like fridges, freezers or ovens.

Wider essentials like broadband or phone bills, clothing, and essential transport costs like repairing a car, buying a bicycle or paying for fuel could also be covered.

Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Welfare & Exchequer, said: “It’s vital that we use this funding to support as many people as possible, as effectively as possible. The Household Support Fund is about seeing our most vulnerable residents through an incredibly tough time, and in circumstances like this, we need to look at a breadth of support mechanisms.

“That’s why we won’t be providing one-size-fits-all support, and why we won’t be focusing this support on any particular group or community. Instead, we will look at how we can provide effective funding to as many of our citizens that are in need this coming winter period.”

Accessing support

This support will be available through existing support channels – primarily the council’s Local Welfare Provision scheme. The council works closely with many partners across Kirklees who will also be able to provide referrals and signposting for this support.

The council will make decisions by looking at individual cases to identify those most in need and determine what type of support should be provided.

Some of this funding has also been provided to local organisations to help deliver community-based support.

The funding will run until the end of March 2022.

Councillor Carole Pattison, Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said: “This money will go a long way to help families who are struggling financially. For those who qualify for Free School Meals, having extra mouths to feed while schools are closed can take a big financial toll.

“Having access to this extra support will keep more than 16,500 children warm and well fed this Christmas.”