A North East council will be providing support to vulnerable households to help with energy and food costs this winter.
Durham County Council is set to receive £4.6 million from the government’s Household Support Fund to help struggling households with their essential costs over the winter months.
The support will be given to residents in County Durham that are most in need through to March 2022, with a minimum of 50 per cent of the funding to be given to vulnerable families with children.
The funding is intended to assist financially vulnerable residents with essential costs such as food, energy and water bills, clothing, and utilities.
The council and key partners will be issuing this support in a variety of forms, including food vouchers to households with free school meal eligible children, distributed periodically over the winter months from now until March, and hampers to vulnerable households identified by council support services.
There will also be various other schemes where social care and other professionals will be able to make referrals to target further support for vulnerable households. This can be used to help purchase essential household items, cover the cost of boiler services or repairs, provide vouchers for food or fuel, or support with other essentials.
Support will be provided to households identified through the council’s adult and children’s services teams, Housing Solutions, the Discretionary Benefits team, and by working with schools and partners across the county.
Cllr Alan Shield, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: “We know the winter months can be especially difficult for many households. However, it is essential that families have enough food and energy, and we hope this provision of vouchers and support helps relieve that pressure.
“This funding builds on previous Covid winter and local support funds that have been in place to try to alleviate the pressure on vulnerable families and disadvantaged households.
“As with our previous approaches in supporting families, we are working with schools and all our voluntary sector partners to ensure this much-needed support is provided to those in most need.”