Rochdale Borough Council has put in place a support programme to help thousands of vulnerable residents and families with essentials this winter.
As a key part of its support offer, the council is using £2.3 million from the government's Household Support Fund to provide:-
- Targeted support for low income households, through provision of free school meals for eligible families over the Christmas holiday, February half-term and Easter holiday
- Delivery of a household fund, where people can access shopping and fuel vouchers
- Targeted support for older residents in receipt of council tax support
- A package of housing energy support
The council will also be working with partners across the borough, including the voluntary sector, community groups and charities, to ensure those most in need receive targeted assistance.
Older residents who qualify for council tax support have already been contacted by the council and will receive their first payment by Friday 17 December 2021, benefitting over 7,000 households.
Additionally, the borough's successful community warehouse, which has been in place throughout the pandemic, will continue to provide food parcels, cleaning products, nappies, baby food and other essential supplies for families and older people.
Councillors have ensured food vouchers will continue to be provided for lower income families over Christmas, February half-term and Easter. Families will be contacted directly and it will be targeted at over 12,500 children in the borough eligible for free school meals or identified through children's services. In addition, the Holiday Activity Fund will be running over Christmas, providing activities and food for children on free school meals.
Councillor Neil Emmott, leader of the council, said: "Throughout the pandemic we have been committed to supporting and protecting our most vulnerable residents. This wide-ranging and targeted assistance builds on our innovative work over the last 20 months. It's a real partnership effort, utilising our strong community networks, to deliver for those residents who most need our help. I am proud of what we have delivered for our residents, but there is still a lot to do which is reflected in our decision to reach out even further."
He added: "As a responsible and progressive council, it's important we help to ensure that no resident should go hungry, is unable to heat their house, or feed their family this winter. Almost 28,000 Universal Credit claimants in our borough have recently lost £20 per week. That is money to put food on the table and heat their homes. This package goes someway to offset the hardship that cut will cause, especially as the cost of food, fuel and other essentials is increasing. We have a proud history in our borough of ensuring the vulnerable households and older residents are protected. I would urge anyone who could benefit from this winter help to get in touch as soon as possible."
Households who are in particular need are being encouraged to get in touch, to see what assistance could be available for them.
- View available winter support
- You can also phone the council's hotline number on 01706 923685, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, for help and further information.