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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has awarded Stockport Council £4 million from its national Household Support Funding to support borough residents with the cost-of-living.
The funding will be used to support a range of schemes this winter and will add to the One Stockport Warm and Well initiative, supported by Stockport Council.
Cllr Jilly Julian, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, commented:
“We are absolutely committed to helping as many residents as possible navigate the current cost-of-living crisis, as we know many people, from all different backgrounds, are affected. We work hard to ensure that our support offer reaches as many residents as possible, so whether you receive Family Support Vouchers, attend events or activities hosted by our VCFSE partners or engage with one of our trusted partners to access financial or mental health help, the chances are you’re engaging with a council-backed programme.”
To raise awareness off support available for residents in Stockport, the council is marking Household Support Fund Awareness Week and rounding up the ways the authority uses the funding to support residents:
Family Support Vouchers
If your child is in receipt of income-based free school meals, or the early years equivalent, or your family receives Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit, you should have received a Family Support Voucher which can be exchanged for cash to support your households bills. The most recent vouchers were distributed in July 2023 and were worth £97.50, with a second round of vouchers to be distributed to eligible families in December.
Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme
The council has allocated some of the DWP’s Household Support Funding to extend its HAF programme. The programme runs nationally during the Christmas, Easter and summer holiday, but in Stockport the council has extended the programme to cover the October, February and May half terms.
This allows hundreds of children whose families are in receipt of free school meals to access free childcare places, complete with a nutritious lunchtime meal, throughout the school holidays.
Find out more about the HAF programme here.
Supporting the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector in Stockport
Through Spend Well, Live Well grants the council has funded 41 VCFSE organisations to help them continue to deliver vital services to help residents struggling with the cost-of-living. Organisations will use the funding to deliver exciting activities ranging from cooking clubs, employment support, benefit assessments and even a social supermarket.
Warm spaces funding
The warm spaces scheme is back for this winter, as part of the One Stockport Warm and Well initiative. Funding for organisations to open or improve their building as a warm space is now open, and this is funded through the Household Support Fund.
Working with other partners
Stockport Council is working with partner organisations like Age UK Stockport, Disability Stockport and Signpost for Carers to provide funding that means that individuals who need it most can access support with the cost-of-living crisis.
Stockport’s Resident Advice and Support (RAS) team provides a cost-of-living helpline on 0161 474 2140 (lines open Mon-Fri 9.30am to 4pm) who can signpost to support through a council scheme, or to a partner organisation or VCFSE organisation in Stockport. An online cost of living hub also summarises all of the support available in Stockport in one place.