RBWM Household Support Fund

Published: 09 December 2022

RBWM  - Household Support Fund:

“This is to update you on the council’s approach to allocation of the Household Support Fund.

The objective of the DWP Household Support Fund is to provide support to vulnerable households in most need of support, to help with significantly rising living costs.

RBWM have been given £587,905 in the latest round of the Fund to help households most in need this winter. This will be allocated in two ways:

Scheme 1: RBWM will provide families in receipt of Free School Meals with vouchers to assist with food costs during the school holidays. This replicates the successful allocation of funding in this way in the previous two tranches of the Fund. Each family will receive £20 of food vouchers per child, for each week of the school holidays. This funding is supporting around 3,000 families with food vouchers over four weeks in the October half term, Christmas and February half term. There is no application process for this scheme.

Scheme 2: a targeted fund to help residents in severe financial hardship and at risk of problems escalating due to the rising cost of living. To target the limited national funding, we are working with nine frontline distribution partners to identify those residents in greatest need. (Note that additional partners may be included going forwards.) Identified residents will be given a Unique Reference Number (URN) to enable them to apply to receive a one-off cash payment of £145, administered by the council.

Residents will also be supported to explore further help that might be available to them. This complements wider cost of living support the council is promoting with partners through its wider ‘Here to Help’ campaign. See www.rbwm.gov.uk/here-to-help.

Distribution partners will work with their existing clients to identify households for support and will reach out to wider residents in need where appropriate. Residents who are in severe financial need and at risk of escalation of problems are also able to put themselves forward for support.

Citizens Advice East Berkshire will play an overarching role, and so should be a first port of call for residents who are unsure of who to approach.

This is a discretionary fund, allocated on a case by case basis, to mitigate serious financial hardship and prevent crises over winter. Please note that residents are not able to apply to the council directly.

Role of Parishes:

Parishes have a valuable role to play in helping to reach out to vulnerable households in your parishes, to make them aware of the Household Support Fund, and wider support to help with the cost of living. Please note that the Household Support Fund (scheme 2) is limited to those experiencing severe financial hardship and at risk of escalation of problems, and residents will be assessed on a case by case basis.

For more information, please visit  Here to Help campaign webpages at www.rbwm.gov.uk/here-to-help and click on the Household Support Fund link. This contains a list of partners and a Q&A on the scheme.”