At the Council’s Budget meeting earlier this month, the establishment of a £2.5m Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund was announced. The aim of the fund is to support residents who need it most and ensuring that they get the right support at the right time.
The last 12 months has been extremely challenging for everyone, with many residents having to manage job loss, financial pressures, illness, home schooling, caring responsibilities and bereavement. In addition, we know that our residents have been ‘hard hit’ by this pandemic given the link between high COVID cases and high levels of deprivation.
The £2.5m fund will support residents over the next 12 months with a number of priority issues including access to food, heating, housing, employment and debt and benefit advice. This support will, importantly, help them to recover from this pandemic.
The details of the scheme have now been developed and will be considered at the Cabinet Meeting next week (on 23 March).
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “I know that our communities have been hard hit throughout this pandemic and it’s important that those residents who need support, get it. A comprehensive range of support has been developed and will now be considered at Cabinet next week to help residents to get back on their feet after a year of disruption and challenges.”
What support is included in the Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund?
- Food and essentials with a proposal to distribute support through the Borough’s community and voluntary organisations.
- Support through the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Winter Warmth and Safe Heating schemes providing safer heating sources and the provision of warm and well packs.
- Emergency boiler and central heating repairs.
- Fuel vouchers over the winter period for residents who are moving from temporary accommodation into permanent accommodation.
- Support for children and families to help them to maintain tenancies and improve safety in the home.
- Personal financial advice will be available including Council Tax debt support.
- The provision of ‘warmth packs’ which will include duvets, blankets and clothing.
- Support to people who have fallen behind with rent payments to private landlords.
- Proposals to support long-term unemployed residents who have been supported into employment with a bridging payment until they receive their first wage.
Further details about how the fund can be accessed will be available following the discussion at Cabinet next week – keep a look-out on www.knowsleynews.co.uk