Portsmouth City Council has unveiled more support to help residents cope with the cost of living crisis.
The support includes supermarket vouchers for families, help for people struggling to stay warm at home, and grants for local groups helping those in need.
It’s paid for by the government’s latest allocation of household support funding, which is given to councils to distribute according to local circumstances.
Using the funding, the council has enabled local schools to provide supermarket vouchers worth £70 for pupils in years R to 11 who get benefits-related free school meals. Any family who hasn’t received a voucher by the end of term should contact their school.
Families with children in early years childcare, who qualified for two-year-old childcare funding or early years pupil premium and were attending a childcare setting on 7 October, will also receive a £70 voucher for each eligible child.
Students aged 16–19 attending City of Portsmouth College, from low-income families, will receive a payment of £70 direct from the college.
The council is also using the funding to give more people access to home energy advice visits. To find out how to save energy and money, residents can go online to Switched on Portsmouth or call free on 0800 260 5907.
The council is also providing funding for local organisations that are already supporting people with the cost of living, including foodbanks and community pantries.
Cllr Suzy Horton, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “We’re working hard to make sure that this funding is used to benefit people in the city most affected by the cost of living crisis, including families, older people and people with disabilities. This is all alongside the other work we’re doing to help Portsmouth people at this time, including our cost of living hub and our HAF Fun Pompey programme for children and young people.
“We want to thank our local schools and childcare providers who continue to support us in delivering this support to local families.”
The council is planning more support for residents in the new year:
- A scheme for other low-income families who did not qualify for a voucher from their school or childcare provider this time around.
- A scheme for people on means-tested benefits who missed out on the government’s cost of living payment in November.
- A scheme for people with disabilities who did not qualify under the new Warm Home Discount scheme, to apply for £150 to help with their energy costs.
When the details of these schemes are finalised, residents will be able to find out more on the council’s household support fund page.
Information about the schemes will also be available on the council’s online cost of living hub, which covers a wide range of advice and support. Or residents can call the council’s cost of living helpline on 023 9284 1047.