Additional support in place for vulnerable households
Vulnerable households across County Durham can access additional support to help them cope with the rising cost of living this winter.
We have been allocated a further £4.6 million from the government's Household Support Fund to help those who are most in need through to March.
How the fund can be used
The support will be given to those households which would otherwise struggle with energy, food and water bills, as well as other essential costs, with local authorities urged to especially consider how people can be supported with the cost of energy.
In cases of genuine emergency, the funding can also be used to support housing costs where existing schemes do not meet this need.
We will continue to work with its key partners to deliver the support in a variety of forms, including giving vouchers to households, directly providing food or goods to residents or issuing grants to third parties so they can help.
The fund is intended to support a wide range of low-income households in need, such as families with children, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers and disabled people, with residents able to come forward to ask for assistance.
For information about a range of financial assistance, including the Household Support Fund, residents can visit our Help with your money page.
Working together to support residents
Cllr Alan Shield, Cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: "The rising cost of living is putting further financial strain on everyday household expenses. We also appreciate that the winter months can be particularly difficult for households and it is essential that we work together with all our partners and stakeholders to ensure that residents have enough food and energy.
"There may be some disadvantaged households which are really struggling with their finances but may well not be known to the council. For example, they may not be receiving a council benefit entitlement or engaging with us for other means of support. By working with our partners, we can use local information to focus on more vulnerable and hard-to-reach households and therefore support a higher number of people across the county.
"This will build on the strong record of partnership working that we have already established across County Durham. For example, we are working with the County Durham Community Foundation to create a network of Warm Spaces, whilst providing funding to support Durham Christian Partnership and other local food banks. We are also supplementing that service by working alongside our partner agencies offering benefit checks and other support.
"We are determined to support all our residents, in all areas of the county. We would encourage anyone who is in any level of financial difficulty to get in touch with us at the earliest possible opportunity."