Solihull Council has been awarded £565,000 of additional funding to support residents and children in need with food and warmth during this winter as part of the Government’s Winter Grants Scheme.
It will provide additional help and support to households with food, bills (gas, electricity, water) and household essentials this winter and during this phase of COVID.
£252,000 will go towards providing supermarket e-vouchers over the Christmas period for up to 8,400 school pupils whose families are in receipt of free school meals. Each child will receive £3.00 per day amounting to £30.00 over the holiday.
The Council’s Discretionary Crisis Fund (DCF) will continue to operate alongside these other measures. It has been in place for a number of years and provides support to residents suffering from severe financial hardship. Support is given to access food, fuel top-ups and, if needed, essential white goods. In response to the ongoing impact of COVID the criteria have been revised.
Anyone who needs to access additional help and support can ring Solihull Connect on 0121 704 8100, for information and advice on how to access local community support or financial assistance directly from the DCF.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council said:
“We are committed to supporting all vulnerable families over this particularly challenging winter period. In particular, the e-vouchers for pupils of families who get free school meals will ensure that no child goes hungry over the Christmas period.
“There is no need for anyone to apply for the vouchers as we will identify those eligible using our central database and a manual process is being put in place for the small number of parents who do not have an email address.
“Further options are being developed for January to support households with their fuel top-ups, bills and managing money for the year ahead. A report will come to Cabinet in January which sets out proposals for this phase of the support scheme.”
Councillor Karen Grinsell, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said:
“A number of support options are already in place for this winter as in other years. However, the Winter Grants Scheme has allowed additional provision to be made available to community groups and organisations, food networks, as well as crisis support through the Council’s DCF.
“In the New Year the government will announce its funding to allow local authorities to provide holiday activity and a food programmes for the Easter, summer and Christmas holiday in 2021.
“We will deliver this working with our local voluntary and community organisations, schools and other partners to develop holiday programmes where food, positive activities and parental support can be provided. This will ensure that no child needs to go hungry in the school holidays, whilst providing a whole wrap-around offer of support for families.”