Hackney ensures vulnerable households won’t go cold or hungry this Christmas with financial aid for food and utilities over winter
Thousands of local families, vulnerable people, and households in need will receive direct help for food and utilities as part of Hackney Council’s efforts to ensure that no resident goes cold or hungry this winter.
The Council will be distributing £2.8 million worth of small grants to meet the daily needs of those struggling or in crisis, including those affected by the rise in the cost of living and increasing energy and fuel prices.
The financial support will go towards food, clothing, electricity, gas and water bills.
The Council will focus on helping:
- Families with children, the Council is working with Schools, children’s centres, colleges to distribute food vouchers to those on the free school meals register and also under 5s and college students in need. All these young people will receive six weeks’ worth of food vouchers during the school holiday periods over the next six months. To reach families in the Orthodox Jewish community we are working with community partners.
- Senior citizens living in income deprivation.
- Residents living in temporary accommodation or supported accommodation, and who are not currently covered by discretionary housing schemes.
- Residents who have fallen behind on their payments of bills and whose situation could worsen with increased fuel prices.
The Household Support Fund grant will not be enough to help everyone in need, so Hackney is also teaming up with food charities on a fundraising drive to help feed residents over winter.
As is often the case amidst a global crisis, it is the most vulnerable people in our society who are hit the hardest. That is why it is vital we can offer the support needed to residents over the difficult winter season.
We thank all our partners for helping to ensure that everyone in need who is entitled to help receives it, such as our borough’s schools who have supported and coordinated the free school meals register and food vouchers during the school holidays. Together we will ensure those families and children who rely on this support won’t go hungry over Christmas. Beyond families with school age children we are going further, working to support younger children and students in need of support and will continue to provide support to all of our borough’s diverse communities.
I am delighted we can offer much needed financial help to many of our residents during what can typically be a very trying time of the year.
We are building on what we have been able to offer through the Winter Grant and Covid Local Support Fund, but will continue to diversify the ways in which we can help those who are most likely to be impacted by the end of furlough, the cumulative impact of inflation which continues to rise, increasing fuel costs, and the end of the £20 top-up on Universal Credit.
We want to help the households in our borough in greatest need of support, as well as those most vulnerable in our communities, including young people, senior residents and those without permanent homes.
The grant is part of the government’s £500m Household Support Fund to help vulnerable homes across the country over the coming months as the UK continues its recovery from the pandemic.
The fund aims to support millions of households in England and will be distributed by local councils who know their communities best and can directly help those who need it most. Hackney residents with concerns or seeking more information can contact 020 8356 3111.
Notes to editors
Focus on children and young people: An estimated 32,786 (48%) children in Hackney are living in poverty (on households incomes of £14,000) after housing costs are deducted. An estimated 49% of children in poverty live in families where the youngest child is aged 4 or under (total population estimated 20,000).
Focus on families with children: Every child on the free school meals register will receive six weeks’ worth of food vouchers during the school holiday periods over the next six months. Hackney Council also works with voluntary sector partners, Children's Centres and colleges to reach a much larger group of young people including those in the Charedi community and under 5s who will receive support equivalent to six weeks worth of food vouchers.
Focus on children from the orthodox Jewish community: There are an estimated 25,000 people in the Orthodox Jewish community and 11,000 ( 44%) are under 14, and 6,600 (60%) live in households in receipt of benefits, although a very low number claim free school meals even in maintained schools (1% compared with 32% overall).
Focus on fuel poverty: An estimated 16.6% of Hackney households (17,800) are in fuel poverty and this number is likely to have risen with current fuel increases.
Focus on older people: Another vulnerable group who will receive help from the grant is the borough’s senior citizens, with 43% of residents in Hackney aged 60 and over currently living in income deprivation.