Hardship fund makes £181,000 available to struggling East Devon residents

More than £181,000 of emergency cash has been earmarked to help struggling residents East Devon.

Hardship Support Grants aim to provide short-term aid to those whose immediate essential needs are not being met.

County council bosses have made £1million available to local authorities in Devon  to boost those affected by the coronavirus crisis who may not be able to access funding from elsewhere.

The main focus of the cash is to provide basic essentials including vital household items such as food, heat, power, nappies and baby milk.

It can also be used for shopping vouchers, paying for essential travel needs or advice and support services.

East Devon has been allocated £181,487 of the funding.

It will be administered by staff working in revenues and benefits at the district council.

Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council portfolio holder for finance, said: “We recognise that the circumstances of some of our customers means that further help may be necessary.

“This hardship fund will be used in a supportive and reactive way to help people experiencing short-term difficulties.

“It is a discretionary scheme that offers an immediate and direct short term solution to individuals and families facing the stark prospect of being unable to access the most basic necessities such as food and fuel.

“The grant can also be used to support our local community and voluntary partners who can receive additional funding, where necessary, for their role in delivering hardship support.”

Devon County Council leader John Hart added:

“The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is putting a huge financial strain on some people, with work and income changing overnight as a result of the lockdown.

“If you’re worried about money and how to pay in the short-term for basic essentials, there is immediate help available through this fund.

“By working together with our district council colleagues we can make sure this vital financial support reaches the vulnerable people in our communities who need it most at this difficult and uncertain time.”

Eligibility criteria includes:

  • Self-employed people who are not able to trade in the interim until their tax-based grants are paid from June 2020;
  • Self-employed people who started business recently and are not eligible for a grant;
  • Employees whose employment has been terminated or those still in work but on short-time, and where Universal Credit is not yet in payment;
  • Employees laid-off, but not eligible for furlough;
  • Employees who are sick and either not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, or where Statutory Sick Pay represents a significant drop in income;
  • People who are isolated and unable to source supplies and are not served by local voluntary help or by shielding;
  • Older people who are struggling because of increased vulnerability (carers and family cannot visit etc), and again are not served by local voluntary help;
  • People with little or no access to disposable income.

Applications to the fund can be made here.

To speak to someone about the fund, call01395 516551or emailhardship@eastdevon.gov.uk.

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