CBC outlines support for most vulnerable this winter


Central Bedfordshire Council has outlined 

how it will allocate £1.4m of Gove funding

funding to support vulnerable households this winter.

In September the Government announced its new £500m Household Support Fund, designed to support those most in need this winter during the country’s final stages of economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Central Bedfordshire Council was awarded £1,483,073 to support residents with food, energy and water bills and other essentials over the winter period.

The Household Support Fund is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and replaces the Covid Local Support Grant.

Some of the funding has already been distributed to households. During October half term, a £15 supermarket voucher was provided to every child eligible for free school meals to support with food costs. In total, 6,257 supermarket vouchers were distributed to families in Central Bedfordshire, worth almost £94,000. Support for these families will continue over the Christmas holidays and February half term.

The Council has now announced who is eligible to receive support from the Household Support Fund this winter and how this will be distributed. As well as children entitled to free school meals, those eligible for support include:

  • Children eligible for 2-year-old funding/Early Years Pupil Premium
  • Children or young people attending Shuttleworth College who are eligible for free school meals
  • Care leavers (young adults aged between 18 and 25 years old that have previously spent time in care before they were 18 years old)
  • Residents of Council-managed caravan sites or permanent, legally licensed residential park homes
  • Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) claimants 

The full list of who is eligible for support this winter is available on the Council’s  website.

Cllr Richard Wenham, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough time for many families, and I am pleased we are able to continue to support our most vulnerable households as the country recovers. We have already been able to offer support during the October half term, and this will continue over the Christmas holidays and for most households into the February half term as well.

“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure vulnerable families are supported this winter. We have used some of the Household Support Fund to provide funding to a number of organisations so they can distribute food and offer wider essential support to eligible households. Those who need it most will be supported this winter, and we hope that will ease some of the concerns families may have.”

As well as providing support for food and utilities over the Christmas holidays, the Council will be running holiday activities for children entitled to free school meals through its Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, funded by the Department for Education. Activities are inclusive so are suitable for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), but the Council will also be running a series of activities that are specifically for children with SEND. Similar activities were run over the summer holidays.

For more information about who is eligible for support from the Household Support Fund, visit the Central Bedfordshire Council’s  website.