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Helping residents to pay essential bills this winter

15 November 2021

a man and a woman looking through paperwork with worried expressions.

As the winter cold starts to bite, South Hams District Council invites households experiencing financial hardship to get help with paying essential bills. The council will be handling applications for the Government's new Household Support Fund from today, 15 November 2021, and throughout the winter.

There's also a reminder of other support available to residents who are struggling to make ends meet over the coming months.

The new Household Support Fund is designed to provide rapid short-term financial support for people who don't have enough money to buy essentials like food or pay for heating. Anyone over 16 years old in the South Hams could be eligible, but you will need to confirm that your need is genuine. These grants aim to help people to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utility bills. Payments will be made directly into your bank account. Residents without a bank account should contact us.

As well as being the place to apply for Household Support Fund money, there are other ways the Council can help local people in crisis situations. This includes help with making adaptations to your home to help you to live their independently, support for people threatened with homelessness or struggling to pay their rent and help to reduce energy costs. The Council also works closely with a number of other agencies that provide more specific support and can help signpost residents to access all the help available. 

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams District Council Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing said: "We know that winter can be financially tough for many local people - and it looks like this year could be harder than ever. Through the national Household Support Fund, we're here to make it as easy as possible for people in immediate short-term need to get the cash boost they need to pay for essentials. All you need to do is go online or call 01803 861234. But the support we can offer does not stop there. We can also help to signpost residents to help with paying housing costs, reducing energy bills and provide assistance so people can carry on living in their home independently. We have a member of staff on hand to help individuals and community groups to access all that is available or you can also ask your local councillor for advice." 

Devon County Council led the bid for a share of the government funding, securing a little over £5 million for the county. 

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

"It is clear that the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to put a huge financial strain on some people and the effects are likely to be felt for some time still to come.

"We are committed to supporting people in Devon experiencing hardship and this funding and have worked with our colleagues in the district councils to ensure that this money gets to the people who need it most as quickly as possible, so if you need help I encourage you to get in touch." 

South Hams District Council's support for local communities extends beyond helping individuals in crisis situations. It has been working closely with the voluntary sector as well as Devon County Council and the NHS to provide grants and support to reduce health inequalities and rural poverty. This includes investing £4m to develop an integrated health hub in Dartmouth.  

To apply to the Household Support fund go to : www.southhams.gov.uk/household-support 

For more support and useful contacts for help, please go to www.southhams.gov.uk/Benefits

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