Further support for vulnerable families and households 

Published

Disadvantaged and vulnerable households will be further supported by the Royal Borough thanks to a grant to help cover essential costs, and a free Christmas school holiday activity and food programme for children eligible for free school meals.

Household Support Fund

The council has been allocated almost £590,000 from the government’s Household Support Fund to assist those who meet the criteria with the costs of food, rent, council tax relief and deposits to secure tenancies.
The Household Support Fund will be used to provide:

  • A £40 food voucher per child, for families eligible for free school meals or low income free early years childcare over the Christmas school break and Easter holiday. A £20 voucher will be provided over the winter half-term. Vouchers will come via the schools.
  • Support to low income social housing tenants who are at risk of losing their home, in order to prevent homelessness
  • Deposit provision to secure tenancy arrangements for residents who would otherwise be unable to take up the housing offer and become homeless
  • Provision of a contribution to council tax relief for recipients assessed eligible for council tax support due to low income.

FUEL programme

Separate to this, bookings are now open for the Royal Borough’s Feed Ur Everyday Lives (FUEL) programme for children eligible for free school meals, providing additional support to vulnerable youngsters this Christmas. Young people and families will be able to access free activity groups and nutritious meals.

The programme is being delivered by Achieving for Children, the council’s children’s services partner, with funding from the Department for Education. It ran for two weeks over the Easter school holidays and four weeks over the summer holidays.

Achieving for Children has teamed up with sports organisations, a community interest company and family hubs to deliver the programme. It will offer activities for children aged five to 16-years-old for four hours a day.

These will include sensory activities for children with special educational needs, cooking sessions, pool table, arts and crafts, dance and a range of sports activities.

Councillor Stuart Carroll, cabinet member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure national funding to further assist our most vulnerable residents and provide support for those eligible with food, rent, as well as help with deposits and council tax relief.

“It is also pleasing to see the return of the FUEL programme. During the summer we had more than 3,000 attendances, made up of over 600 different children taking part in the activities. This demonstrates how vital this support is to families in the borough who need it most.

“Winter, and Christmas in particular, can be a particularly tough time for many families and I would encourage those with children who are eligible to book a place on this easily accessible and valuable programme which I’m pleased we are able to offer over the festive period.

“The school holiday periods can be times of added financial pressure for families, with increased costs on childcare and food, and we hope FUEL’s offer of nutritious meals and fun and engaging activities will help our hardest-hit families.

“A critical priority of the council is protecting vulnerable people and ensuring all children have the same opportunities and life chances. Both the funding we have successfully secured, and the FUEL programme are a critical part of our ongoing commitment to supporting some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the borough.”

To view and book the FUEL Christmas programme, as well as see the list of partners, visit https://rbwm.afcinfo.org.uk/pages/community-information/information-and-advice/fuel-holiday-activities-and-food-programme

For support with the online application process, please contact the FUEL co-ordinator at HAF@achievingforchildren.org.uk