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Lifeline scheme extended for further year

13 March 2023

A lifeline scheme aimed at helping residents most affected by the cost-of-living crisis is being extended for another year – including the popular school holiday voucher scheme.

At a Cabinet meeting today (Monday 13 March) members heard how the council plans to use the fourth instalment from the government’s Household Support Fund (HSF) covering from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024.

The fund was launched by the Government in November 2020 to support people who were most impacted by the Covid pandemic and struggling to make ends meet. The council has been given £3.65 million for HSF phase four and will continue helping low-income households including families with children, pensioners, carers, care leavers and people with disabilities.

At the meeting today Cabinet members approved the proposed allocation of funding as follows:

  • £2m extension of the school voucher scheme - Each eligible child will receive a £30 supermarket voucher for the Easter holiday, £10 for the May half-term, £60 for the summer holiday, £10 for October half-term, £30 for the Christmas holiday and £10 for February half-term in 2024.

  • £1m for a ‘Here to Help’ voucher scheme – eligible households can apply for support with Fuel and Food cost alongside access to face-to-face debt advice, benefits and income maximisation support, as well as energy efficiency schemes.

  • £500K to support partners and community organisations – This will help local groups to continue to deliver direct support to residents offering food deliveries, provision of essential supplies as well as help those with access barriers to apply for vouchers.

Councillor Steve Allen, deputy leader and cabinet member for communication, culture and communities, said: “The HSF has been a real lifeline for so many people in our city and I am delighted it has been extended once again so that we can help even more residents.

“We are all affected by the rising cost of living, but for some people the impact upon their lives is huge and they may not be able to afford household bills or buy food. Please get in touch if you are struggling, there is no shame in asking for help.”

Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children's services, education, skills and university, said: “I am delighted we can continue supporting families through the school holidays for another year. These vouchers make such a difference, especially for families who have children at home who are not getting their usual term-time free school meal.

“We will be contacting those who are eligible with details of the voucher scheme for Easter holiday in the coming weeks.”

More information about the Household Support Fund, including eligibility for funding available now, is available at www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/benefits/household-support-fund