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Winter support launched for families struggling during pandemic

Published on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Woman using calculator for family bills

SUPPORT and help offered by Leicester City Council to local families who are struggling to pay for essentials including household bills will get an extra boost this winter.

The Leicester Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which is being administered and jointly funded by Leicester City Council, will see an additional £1.4m used to support low income families with children and individuals who are most in need to meet the cost of food, energy and utility bills and other essential expenses.

Around a third of that will be spent on extending free school meals across the two-week Christmas break to ensure no child goes hungry.

The rest of the money is being made available to support children and households in the city who are experiencing poverty as a result of the ongoing coronavirus measures and where alternative sources of assistance may be unavailable.

The scheme will run from December 1, 2020, until March 31, 2021.

The aim of the scheme is to give vulnerable households peace of mind in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months during the pandemic by helping those who need it to have food on the table and other essentials, so every child will be warm and fed this winter.

The city council will be working with partners in the voluntary and community sectors to ensure those who need help most are identified and referred to the scheme which will provide support with food, energy and water bills for household purposes and other essentials.

It will also help struggling households with other essentials linked to the ongoing conditions, such as sanitary products, warm clothing and blankets and cooking facilities. The scheme will not cover payment of rent or other housing costs such as council tax, as there are other discretionary schemes available to help residents meet these costs.

To be eligible, people need to live within Leicester, and be adversely affected by coronavirus, for example through being made redundant, being furloughed, having their hours cut, or having to be at home when a child is told to self-isolate in their bubble.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “People in Leicester have suffered huge disruption to their family lives, their work and in many cases their income as a result of the extended lockdown measures which have meant the city has been under restrictions since March.

“Marcus Rashford campaigned brilliantly on this issue and forced the Government to offer this support. I’m proud that we can offer more to people in Leicester to add to the support that he secured from the Government.

“Our additional offer of support will go some way towards helping those families who need support the most to get help in meeting the costs of winter fuel, food, household bills and other essentials.”

The Leicester Covid Winter Grant Scheme is part of a wider winter support package for families and children. It builds upon Leicester’s holiday hunger programme which has provided similar support to thousands of families over many years.

For details of how to apply for help, visit here.

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