Extra support on its way in time for Christmas to help more than 32,000 Notts households
More than £4 million worth of support is on its way to thousands of eligible households to help cover the costs of food and energy bills this winter.
This latest, one-off winter payment is due to be paid to more than 32,000 households before Christmas, which this time will include an additional £30 per household.
Nottinghamshire County Council continues to work with district and borough councils to help ease some of the financial worries for residents who are struggling to make ends meet, thanks to the Government’s £11.3 million Household Support Fund (HSF) which runs between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.
Those benefitting from this support include families with children eligible for Free School Meals or equivalent, those in receipt of Pension Credit, as well as other households and individuals who have been identified by social workers and other professionals as struggling with rising costs.
On top of an average payment of £100 per household, based on the number of eligible people living there, each household will get an extra £30 this time to help towards things like winter heating bills.
Councillor John Cottee, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said:
“We know many households continue to struggle to pay food and energy bills, and with Christmas coming up, those pressures are only going to increase for many local families.
“We are pleased to confirm that support worth more than £4 million is to be shared among thousands of families who need this support the most and is due to arrive in time for the festive season.
“Earlier this summer, more than £3.8 million was paid out to almost 33,000 households who had a choice of having cash put into their bank accounts or being sent supermarket vouchers to spend in a way which best helps their immediate need. This latest winter payments will be paid in the same way to help speed up the process, but this time each household will receive an extra £30.
“Given the volume of people who can’t afford basic white goods such as a working fridge or a cooker, an extra £200,000 is being allocated, bringing the total to £600,000 available to be spent on goods which will help improve the health and well-being of residents who are most in need, as identified by front-line workers such as social workers and Citizens Advice staff.”
Those who applied, or were referred in by a front-line worker, for the summer payment ahead of this year’s 30 September deadline will automatically be sent the winter payment and will not need to re-apply. Those who are eligible for this support and have previously had a letter from the council, can still apply for winter support by completing the form here; Apply for the household support fund - Nottinghamshire County Council
Anyone currently claiming Pension Credits or benefits-related Free School Meals and have not received a letter, can get in touch by emailing HouseholdSupportFund@nottscc.gov.uk and include ‘Missing HSF letter’ in the email subject box.
Anyone who applied after the summer deadline will have already received their main winter payment, however they won’t miss out and will still get the £30 additional payment before Christmas.
And to help all residents across the county who need access to help and advice, particularly in light of the rising living costs, a one-off grant of £120,000 is being awarded to Citizens Advice to help with its essential costs and volunteer expenses.
Donna Cumberlidge is the Chief Officer at Citizen Advice Nottingham & District and, along with five other local Citizens Advice offices, support residents across the whole of Nottinghamshire. Welcoming the one-off grant, she said,
“We are seeing so many people struggling with the rising living costs, more and more people with negative budgets, increasing rental and mortgage arrears, energy debt and council tax arrears. It really is so important that people seek support as early as possible and I urge anyone facing financial pressures to contact us.
“As independent local charities we are always looking for ways to fund the free, confidential and impartial advice we give to residents across the county, so this one-off grant from the county council is great news.
“It will allow us to carry on and expand our work as demand grows, as well as helping our long-term sustainability. Across our services we expected to support 27,000 people this year but by the end of September we had already supported 23,534 residents. We now expect to support over 47,000 people this year.
“Like all organisations, our costs and bills have spiralled, and so this money will be spent to meet the needs of each area across the county. For example, it will help with the travel costs of our vital volunteers as well as equipment like software licences and, their training. It will also be used to help us meet our own increasing running costs and, to help our advice centres continue to be a warm and welcoming place for residents to come to us for help and advice.”
To contact Citizens Advice, please go to https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
For more details of the Household Support Fund, go to Nottinghamshire Household Support Fund (HSF) Phase 4 | Nottinghamshire County Council
For details of other help and support available from Nottinghamshire County Council and partners, please see the dedicated webpage: Cost of living support | Nottinghamshire County Council
For those unable to complete the Household Support Fund form online, the council’s customer service team on 0300 500 8080 will provide help, however waiting times continue to be longer than normal. Please note, the team’s opening times are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 4.30pm on Friday.
For those living in the City area, details of the City Council’s Household Support Fund arrangements are available here: www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/householdsupportvouchers