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Household Support Fund (HSF)

The household support fund has been provided by the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver support County Durham's most vulnerable households.

2023/24 scheme

The council has been allocated £9.3 million to provide support to low income and vulnerable households who may be struggling with their energy and food costs, or who need other essential household items. Funding covers the period between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 and is in addition to our fun and food that runs during the main school holidays.

Household Support Fund 4 (HSF4) is a type of discretionary support, rather than being a legal entitlement. This means that awards are subject to the scheme having available/remaining funding.

The majority of HSF4 is targeted at those households who will not receive the Government's main Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024. The funding is being allocated directly to eligible households or through partner organisations which include local charities and voluntary groups.

Examples of how the funding is being used:

  • 2 payments of £75 to eligible young people in education establishments in receipt of free school meals. You do not need to apply for this, and payments will be made by voucher through your education provider.
    • Summer payments will be sent out weeks commencing 19 and 26 June with Early Years payments being made week commencing 3 July 2023.  Vouchers will then be distributed via schools.
    • Winter payments will be sent out weeks commencing 20 and 27 November with Early Years payments going week commencing 4 December 2023.  Vouchers will then be distributed via schools.
  • Vouchers to households identified by The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as not receiving the Government's cost of living support payments
  • Funding for local organisations to help residents with food and energy bill support

Do I need to apply for HSF4

You will not normally need to apply, as you are either automatically identified or will access the support through a specific partner.

If you have not received support through these routes, there may be help available through our Application Fund.

Application Fund 

If you have received any of the Governments 2023/24 low income cost of living support payments outlined on Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024, you will not be able to apply to our Application Fund at this time.

Who can apply for the Application Fund

If you have experienced an unexpected expense which affects your ability to meet the cost of energy, food, or other essential bills, or are struggling to afford heating your home, you may be eligible for assistance through our Application Fund. Full details including how to apply will be published in June.

Please note: The Application Fund is not an emergency response fund. Applications will take some time to consider, if you are struggling to afford enough food please apply to our Welfare assistance scheme.

Still need help

If you are not identified or supported through HSF4 and the Application Fund you should consider applying to our Welfare assistance scheme, if you are not eligible under the criteria shown the team will direct you to our partners for advice and information on other support which may be available to you.

You can Apply online for Welfare Assistance or alternatively, you can contact us by phone Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5.00pm and Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm (we are closed bank holidays and weekends).

Information on where to get help with your money, including family finances, food and household bills, housing, benefits and debt can be found on our Help with your money page.

Other cost of living support

HSF4 is a small part of the overall support that the government is providing to households. Further information on the support available to help you with the cost of living, including income and disability benefits, bills and allowances, childcare, housing and travel can be found on the Governments cost of living hub Cost of living support.

Detailed eligibility requirements for the Cost-of-Living Payments from DWP can be found at Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024.

Contact us
Welfare assistance scheme
03000 267 900