Household support fund
Since October 2022, with the help of educational settings, Staffordshire council voluntary youth services, Staffordshire connects, Beat the cold, Staffordshire community foundation, Staffordshire Fire and rescue and frontline local professionals, we have been able to provide support to over 138,431 households across the county. That support looked like:
- Over 204,813 food vouchers that have been provided.
- Over 214,595 utilities vouchers that have been provided.
- Over 187,737 food vouchers that have been provided to support families during school holidays.
- Over 8977 people were supported through direct enquiries to the household fund email in box.
Household support fund - 1 April 2023 - 31 March 2024
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced a further extension to the Household Support Fund, this funding will run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. As you can see from within the announcement it states:
"County Councils and Unitary Authorities have discretion on exactly how this funding is used within the scope set out in the accompanying grant determination and guidance. The expectation is that The Fund should be used to support households in the most need; particularly those who may not be eligible for the other support government has recently made available but who are nevertheless in need and who require crisis support."
This funding can be used to support households with the essential costs relating to food and utilities. Staffordshire County Council are proposing to use this funding in the following ways:
1. Education support fund
Education Settings in Staffordshire will be provided with £20.00 supermarket eVouchers for their children that meet the eligibility criteria. The Education Setting must be claiming one of the following funding streams for the child:
- Early years pupil premium
- Benefits related free school meals
The number of vouchers per child for each holiday is outlined below.
Spring 2023 half term - 1 x £20.00 voucher per child
Summer 2023 holidays - 1 x £40.00 voucher per child
Autumn 2023 half term - 1 x £20.00 voucher per child
Winter 2023 holiday - 1 x £20.00 voucher per child
Spring 2024 half term - 1 x £20.00 voucher per child
For Summer holiday 2023 and Winter holiday 2023, the Holiday Activities and Food programme is also delivered that children can access.
2. Care leavers support
We will be providing children who are leaving our care and moving into adulthood with four x £50.00 supermarket eVouchers in August 2023, December 2023, January 2024, and March 2024.
3. Financial advice and support
We will work in partnership with organisations locally to provide financial support to households through workshops and group work.
4. Professionals referral scheme
We will provide a professionals referral route so that residents in Staffordshire can access additional help from those they are working with. Professionals from the approved referrers list will be able to identify households they are working with direct, that are facing financial hardship and most in need. Particularly those who may not be eligible for other government support that has been made available but nevertheless still in need of financial assistance. Each eligible household will benefit from a £65.00 supermarket voucher and a further £20.00 supermarket voucher per additional dependant. This may include, but is not limited to, residents who are entitled to but not claiming qualifying benefits, people who are claiming Housing Benefit and a range of low-income households in need, including children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers and disabled people.
The online referral form is open throughout the year for professionals to make a referral for any household that is receiving support around their debt, finances, or personal circumstances.
Individuals can also ask a practitioner or professional who they are working with, or who knows the family well, to help to make an application. Any Individual or professional who requires further information on how to access the professional referral scheme, can email email@example.com
5. Winter warmth scheme
We will work in partnership with Beat the Cold and the Staffordshire Community Foundation to continue to deliver the Winter Warmth Project. Using the same professional route referral criteria, we will actively seek out Staffordshire residents who would benefit with financial support for energy. This scheme will provide either a top up card credit for those on pre-payment meters or credit paid directly to the energy supplier for those on metered accounts. The payments will be made via the Staffordshire Community Foundation and their “Surviving Winter” Campaign Team. In addition, eligible residents will have access to an exceptional circumstance “top up” grant to contribute to new boiler systems.
Approved referrers list
Key Workers form the list of the approved referrers that can access the Professionals Referral Scheme and the Winter Warmth Scheme are:
- Staffordshire County Council
- Registered social landlords.
- District / Borough Councils
- Citizen's Advice Bureau
- SCVYS members
- Support Staffordshire Members
- Job Centre
- Education settings in Staffordshire
- Staffordshire County Councils Family Support Providers
If you'd like some more information on how Staffordshire County Council will use this funding, please view the cabinet report on our website. Any underspend across one of the areas can be used for any other scheme flexibly dependant on the needs.
There is also a range of support for people in need of help and support including:
- Here to help - cost of living support - Staffordshire County Council – On these pages you’ll find information, advice, and support to help you manage cost of living pressures.
- Help for Households - Get government cost of living support – Government website to see what cost of living support you could be eligible for.
- Family Hub Cooking - Find guidance on cooking for a family on a budget on the Staffordshire Connects website.
- Staffordshire Connects - Find help and support locally. You can find support for families and children, adults, and people who have special educational needs (SEND). There are also family support providers who can help you with 1:1 support if it's needed.
- Family Hub social media - below are links to our family hub social media pages. We use this platform to advertise any funding that can be applied for directly by families as and when it becomes available.