Household Support Fund 2022: Information for residents of Central Bedfordshire

Financial support for your family, during October 2022 to March 2023

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We will use £1.4 million of funding from the Department for Work and Pensions to support residents this winter and up to March 2023 with food, energy and water bills and other wider essentials.

We will be providing funding for eligible households in several ways including supermarket vouchers for households, direct provision of food and grants to third parties (except for debt advice provision).

Who is eligible to receive support?

  • residents in Central Bedfordshire
  • any household that meets one or more of the following criteria:
    • eligible and claiming for free school meals (including 2-year-old funding or Early Years Pupil Premium)
    • a care leaver (young adults aged between 18 and 25 years old that have previously spent time in care before they were 18 years old)
    • Local Council Tax Support claimants who have not previously received a supermarket voucher, this includes disabled people
    • Housing Benefit claimants who are not eligible for Local Council Tax Support, this includes disabled people
    • households with an annual income of less than £30,000 living in a permanent, residential park home or on a council-managed caravan site

How to get support

We will contact anyone who is eligible for direct support in due course, If your household is eligible, please find the criteria below to find out how you can access support.

Child or young person eligible for free school meals (FSM)

 

Each child eligible and claiming for free school meals and attending a Central Bedfordshire School will be entitled to one supermarket voucher for each of the following periods:

  • October (half term) – £15 total to support with the cost of food for 1 week
  • December (Christmas holidays) – £35 total to support with the cost of food for 2 weeks
  • February (half term) – £17.50 total to support with the cost of food for 1 week

Eligible parents/carers – you will receive a text or email inviting you to choose a supermarket for the voucher. Please check with your school/educational setting to see if your child is already eligible for free school meals. Find out how to register.

If you have a question about your voucher, please email covid19.freeschoolmeals@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. Please include the name of your child(ren) and the school they attend – we can't locate vouchers without this information.

Parents/carers will either receive a text message from ‘SchoolMeals’ or an email from vouchers@wonde.com containing their e-voucher instructions.

This only includes pupils on a school roll or in early years settings and are eligible up to the end of each school holiday.

Free School Meals for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) accessing an independent day school

For parents residing in Central Bedfordshire, who have a child or children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) accessing an independent day schools (including those outside of the county), the Household Support Fund scheme is open for you to apply.

If you are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits for free school meals (as detailed below), and would like to receive a supermarket voucher for the school holidays (Christmas holidays 2022 and February half term 2023), please email Covid19.FreeSchoolMeals@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk using the subject header ‘FSM Independent’.

In your email, please confirm:

  • you receive one of the qualifying benefits (see below)
  • you are a resident in Central Bedfordshire and you have a child or children with an EHCP accessing a independent day schools (please provide school name)
  • your name
  • the name of your child or children
  • a valid email address so you can recieve the voucher

The voucher scheme for each holiday period will close on the last day of each holiday period and we will not be able to backdate any vouchers. We are aware of other Local Authorities providing similar schemes and we will not provide a voucher where another authority is funding a voucher.

Qualifying benefits to receive free school meals are as follows:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and you have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Please note: Eligible parents who have children(s) with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who are attending maintained schools, academies, and free schools will automatically receive a holiday voucher.

Children eligible for 2-year-old funding/Early Years Pupil Premium

Each eligible child will be entitled to one supermarket voucher for each of the following holiday periods:

  • October (half term) – £15 total: To support with the cost of food for 1 week
  • December (Christmas holidays) – £35 total: To support with the cost of food for 2 weeks
  • February (half term) – £17.50 total: To support with the cost of food for 1 week

Eligible parents/carers – you will receive a text or email inviting you to choose a supermarket for the voucher. Please check with your early years setting/school to see if your child is already eligible for the 2-year-old funded childcare or early years pupil premium.

If you have a question about your voucher, please email covid19.freeschoolmeals@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. Please include the name of your child(ren) and the early years setting /school they attend. We cannot locate vouchers without this information.

This only includes pupils on a school roll or in early years settings and are eligible up to the end of each school holiday.

Child or young person attending Shuttleworth College eligible for free school meals (FSM)

Each eligible child will be entitled to one supermarket voucher for each of the following holiday periods:

  • October (half term) – £15 total to support with the cost of food for 1 week
  • December (Christmas holidays) – £35 total to support with the cost of food for 2 weeks
  • February (half term) – £17.50 total to support with the cost of food for 1 week

Eligible children and families will be contacted by Shuttleworth College.

Care leavers

A care leaver is a young adult aged between 18 and 25 years old that has previously spent time in care before they were 18 years old. Each eligible care leaver will be entitled to one supermarket voucher for the following holiday period:

  • October (half term) – £15 total: To support with the cost of food for 1 week
  • December (Christmas holidays) – £35 total: To support with the cost of food for 2 weeks
  • February (half term) – £17.50 total: To support with the cost of food for 1 week

Eligible care leavers will receive an email inviting you to choose a supermarket for the voucher. If you have any questions, please contact your personal adviser.

Local Council Tax Support and/or Housing Benefit claimants who have not previously received a supermarket voucher

Each eligible household will receive £90 of supermarket vouchers to cover food. This support is intended to support and offset overall household costs (e.g. fuel and utilities).

We will write to you or email you if we think your household is eligible, and you will need to apply for your voucher.

If you have any questions, please email benefits@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Residents of permanent, legally licensed, residential park homes or on council-managed caravan sites with household income of less than £30,000 per year

Each eligible household will receive £90 in supermarket vouchers to cover food. This support is intended to support and offset overall household costs (e.g. fuel and utilities). Residents who received a voucher during the period April 2022 to September 2022 will be sent a voucher for the period 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 without needing to apply again, as unless they advise us to the contrary before 13 December 2022 we will presume that they are still eligible.

It is therefore important for residents to advise us at psh@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk before this date if they are no longer eligible due to their household income being £30,000.00 or more, or because they no longer reside in a park home or on a caravan site within Central Bedfordshire so that we can remove them from the list to receive vouchers. Residents should also advise us by this date of any other changes that may affect the delivery of their vouchers such as their contact details changing since receiving the previous voucher. Once this date has passed and the list to receive awards has been finalised, we will arrange for those on the list to receive either the emails/text messages to access the vouchers or for a voucher to be sent by post.

Due to the number of awards being processed, it may take several weeks from 13 December 2022 for these vouchers to be ordered and delivered and we would therefore be grateful for your patience during that period.

Eligible park home residents who did not receive a voucher previously but wish to apply for this round of funding should contact psh@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Local Welfare Provision

The Grant and Emergency Provision funding has been topped up by the Household Support Grant. Find out more about household eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for other organisations

We have also provided funding to a number of organisations.

The funding is designed to enable them to distribute food and offer vouchers to offset utility and wider essential support to eligible households.

Please contact an organisation directly to find out more about how it can support you: