Devon County Council has secured additional funding to help households weather the rising costs of living, to help pay for food, energy and other essential items.
This is the fourth tranche of the government's Household Support Fund that the County Council has been able to secure.
The latest bid amounts to a little over £10 million, to cover the period from April 2023 until March 2024. It will take Devon’s total level of Household Support Funding received so far to just over £25 million.
The funding is to support households in most need that are struggling to pay for food, energy, water bills and other related essentials, specifically, those households that may not be eligible for other support that is already available from the government.
The County Council has to submit plans by mid-May to the Department of Work and Pensions, setting out how it, with Team Devon's eight District/City councils and other voluntary and community partners will make the latest funding available. Plans are expected to include:
- a funding allocation to specifically support families in receipt of free school meals, to provide food vouchers that can be exchanged at supermarkets to buy food during school holidays. 20,000 children in Devon were eligible for free school meal vouchers during the last holidays
- Some funding will also go to provide financial support for food, energy and other essentials to eligible low income households with children and young people, via the County Council’s Early Help service.
- Team Devon’s District/City councils will plan to continue helping households that are in greatest financial need and struggling to pay for food, energy and other related essentials. They will publicise further details soon, once plans have been finalised
- Citizens Advice Devon will continue to receive funding to support households that are using pre-payment and credit meters, to help with energy costs
- Working with the Sustainable Warmth project, the fund will also be used to pilot a scheme to provide minor but rapid energy efficiency improvements to the homes of eligible households
- And the Devon Community Foundation is exploring how best to deploy funds to voluntary and community organisations that support specific groups who may struggle to access the help and support they need
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member responsible for public health and communities, said: 'High prices of food, energy and other essential household items continue to impact heavily on households, especially those on lowest incomes. We know that many people are being forced to make some very difficult decisions to put food on the table or heat their home.
'We, and our Team Devon district council and voluntary sector colleagues, are doing what we can to help families and households through these difficult times. I’m pleased that we’re again able to help distribute this latest funding to those most in need.'
The Household Support Fund is one aspect of the support that councils across the county are making available to households. For more information about the range of support available, visit our website, www.devon.gov.uk/cost-of-living/