Household support fund
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced a further extension to the Household Support Fund, this funding will run from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. As you can see from within the announcement it states:
Local Authorities have discretion on exactly how this funding is used within the scope set out in the accompanying grant determination and the 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 the government has recently made available but who are nevertheless in need.
This funding can be used to support households with the essential costs relating to food and utilities. Staffordshire County Council have agreed 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 over the October Half Term, one week over Winter and the February Half Term holidays. The Education Setting must be claiming one of the following funding streams for the child:
- Early years pupil premium
- Benefits related free school meals
2. Care leavers support
We will be providing children who are leaving our care and moving into adulthood with two x £50.00 supermarket eVouchers, one at the beginning of December 2022 and one in January 2023.
3. 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 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 household will benefit from a £65.00 supermarket voucher and £20.00 per additional dependant, child, or person the care for. 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.
4. Slow cooker project
We will provide over 20,000 households across Staffordshire with a slow cooker, some recipe cards and access to adult learning to support them to prepare and eat healthy slow cooked food. We will work in partnership with our registered social landlords and with the district and borough councils to identify and target those households on housing benefit or on the waiting list for housing as their privately rented properties are unaffordable.
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
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 Council's Family Support Providers
Funding and further support
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.