Home Knowsley Better Together Knowsley families to get help to heat their homes this winter
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Knowsley families to get help to heat their homes this winter

by Jonathan Kearney

ForHousing has successfully secured £48,000 through the Council’s Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund to help families struggling to heat their homes and put enough food on the table this winter.

The funding will be used to help support those most in need. This will include providing families with vouchers for essential items and working with local partners to offer budgeting advice.

Food and fuel vouchers will be made available to eligible families from Stockbridge Village to help them buy groceries and pay energy bills to keep their homes warm.

Furniture vouchers will be offered to eligible new ForHousing tenants in Knowsley, for example people who have recently been homeless or care leavers, so they can furnish their new place to help make it really feel like home.

The money will also be used to pay for food shopping for tenants at Stockbridge Village Food Club, a project where local people struggling to afford food can purchase 10 items in one go at a greatly reduced price to help their money go further.

ForHousing will work with Prescot and Whiston Community Advice Centre to increase their outreach service in Stockbridge Village to help people with money management and budgeting advice to make the most of their income.

Abigail Winstanley, Neighbourhood Strategic Lead at ForHousing, said: “We know the winter months are a really tough time for many families in Knowsley on low incomes.

“Everyone should have access to basics like food, heating and furniture. At ForHousing we are passionate about tackling poverty and supporting tenants who are struggling as much as we can.

“It’s all part of our commitment to improving people’s lives, by working with community partners to challenge inequality and poverty.”

Cllr Jayne Aston, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Knowsley’s Better Together Hardship Fund is helping the borough’s most in-need residents get back on their feet following the pandemic. The fund is successfully being allocated to organisations such as ForHousing who can identify where support is needed most. It is real partnership working which epitomises the Knowsley Better Together ethos.”

ForHousing has put tackling poverty at the core of its purpose to improve lives and this latest initiative builds on their work over the past two years.

For example, the landlord provides close to £10,000 each year to assist care leavers to purchase furnishings for their new homes and its Community and Local Improvement fund has provided grants totalling around £26,000 for community-led projects in Knowsley that will benefit local people.

During the pandemic, ForHousing focused on collaborating with other organisations to address widening inequalities and ensure that support was available for those most affected by the pandemic.

Across their properties in Knowsley, Oldham and Salford, they worked with local communities to identify 100 families at risk of being left behind, providing over £7,000 in food and fuel vouchers.

Last winter, the landlord secured £25,000 of funding through Knowsley Council from the government’s Covid Winter Grant scheme to help more than 530 households in Knowsley pay for food, household bills and essential sanitary products.