Supporting Dorset’s families in need this winter

dorset councilRESIDENTS in need, including vulnerable families, have been receiving help with the cost of food, heating and other essentials this winter.

Dorset Council was awarded more than £2million from the Government’s Household Support Fund to help vulnerable households across the county in need of financial support. At least 50 per cent of the award will be used to support vulnerable families with children in Dorset.

The funding has been allocated through a diverse and comprehensive program that will benefit those most in need during the winter period.

Free school meals and holiday vouchers have been distributed through schools and early years settings to ensure all children have access to nutritious, healthy food outside of term time. The vouchers were distributed in advance of the October half term and Christmas break, and will continue to be issued in the run up to the February half term and Easter holidays.

One-off winter energy vouchers of £200 have been allocated to households in receipt of Universal Credit with limited capability for work, or earnings below the free school meals and free prescription threshold. A total of 3,500 grants were distributed before the end of 2021 and this scheme has now closed.

In addition, funding has been given to Citizen’s Advice and Age UK to provide additional support to vulnerable households.

Valuable packages of support have been issued to our care leavers to assist with food and winter clothing costs. Support to equip them with essential home items is ongoing and fuel vouchers will be issued later this month.

Dorset Council is supporting vulnerable families directly through its Children’s Services locality teams. Funding is available to help with food, energy bills and other household essentials.

Support for residents experiencing homelessness is being distributed through a grant agreement with the Lantern Trust. A total of £90,000 has been allocated to support food banks, social supermarkets and community fridges across Dorset.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help said: “Winter often places additional pressures on households, especially families. This funding is going some way to help those most in need who are struggling to pay for food, heating, and other essential household costs.

“A huge thank you to our Dorset Together partners for working hard to make sure our most vulnerable residents get the support they need.”

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