West Berkshire Council Unveils Further Household Support Package for Residents Facing Financial Challenges

Published: 13 May 2024

As living costs continue to soar, West Berkshire Council are continuing to assist the local community through the Household Support Fund until autumn 2024.

The funding aims to support households who would otherwise struggle to meet essential housing costs to help them with living costs.

Collaborating with local voluntary sector partners, including Greenham Trust, we have been allocated nearly £695,000 from national Government and we have allocated funds to address various needs. Key measures include:

  • £253,000 main fund: Application process based on the following criteria: only one grant per household per funding period, claim per family - £300, claim per individual - £150.
  • £15,000 for food and energy support: channelled through local charities to alleviate food and energy expenses.
  • £20,000 for appliances and furniture: providing essential items for residents in need. Newbury Community Resource Centre will support this scheme.
  • £10,000 emergency accommodation support: ensuring access is available to hot meals for those in emergency accommodation.
  • £30,000 for discretionary assistance: supporting those moving into accommodation without essentials such as carpets and curtains.
  • £252,000 for free school meals: vouchers for 4,200 young children for 4 weeks during the summer holidays.
  • £20,000 for struggling pensioners: working with charities, assistance for pensioners towards hot meals, energy costs, and essential repairs.
  • £30,000 for young carers and those leaving care: direct support for the estimated 200 young carers for clothing, food, and energy vouchers.

We have a close and effective working relationship with the voluntary sector, including a match-funded allocation pot accessible via Greenham Trust to support local charitable providers, who can apply here.

Councillor Denise Gaines, Executive Member for Housing at West Berkshire Council, said: “The Council is committed in supporting residents in times of need and the Household Support Fund continues to help vulnerable households with significant rising living costs.

“After carefully reviewing the challenges our communities face and considering the impact on residents and the organisations supporting them, we're implementing measures to ensure quicker access to direct support when it's most needed.

“We strongly encourage residents not to suffer in silence but to reach out for assistance if they need it. The Council, alongside numerous supporting organisations, stands ready to provide aid and support.”

Rob Daniels, Head of Grants at Greenham Trust, said: "Sadly, the pressures of the rising cost of living, and poverty in general, are not going away anytime soon. However, our joint cost-of-living fund with West Berkshire Council is providing vital support to frontline charities and organisations doing amazing work every day to support people in our community.

“We feel it's important to continue this funding programme having seen the huge difference it continues to make. We look forward to working on future joint initiatives to support those most in need."

The Council continues to provide direct support through the Household Support Fund, and additional advice can be found on the Cost of Living page. West Berkshire Council and local charities remain dedicated to helping residents navigate these challenging times.