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Household Support Fund - April 2023 - 31 March 2024

The local Household Support Fund scheme from Ashford Borough Council has now closed.   The funding has been committed and we will be submitting our data return to Kent County Council in early April 2024.

In the recent budget announcement it was shared that there would be a fifth round of the Household Support Fund.   There are limited details about the criteria and funding that will be provided to Kent County Council from Government, once this is confirmed and whether there is going to be a funding pot for Ashford BC to deliver another local scheme, we will update this page and our social media channels accordingly.

What did we do with our funding over the last year?

All Types of Energy and Water Support

With our funding we proactively targeted residents of the Borough with support for the cost of all types of energy support, writing to residents who had not benefited from other Government grants or benefits through the cost of living crisis.   We also ran an application based support element for energy, including for those with 'off grid' supply.   These two approaches took part in early part of the last financial year and then more recently in January through to February.

Food - People's Pantry

We have also worked in partnership with the People's Pantry, which is part of the Repton Community Trust to support residents across the borough with regards to access to food.

The People's Pantry is a community shop based at the Repton Community Centre (TN23 3RX). Their aim is to provide a community led service to reduce food insecurity and food waste in Ashford.

Their team are able to make deliveries in emergencies to vulnerable people, whilst they also have a food locker facility available 24 hours of the day to ensure that essentials such as food, hygiene, cleaning products and blankets are always accessible.

More details about who the People's Pantry are and their open hours and support can be found on the People's Pantry website or via the People's Pantry Facebook page.

For information regarding other food banks in the borough, please visit our food bank web page.

We also provided funding directly to Bright City Churches to support vulnerable residents of Ashford with meals and food parcels.

White Goods and Essential Items

We have proactively supported households with support to have access to new or refurbished white goods, for example cookers, fridges and washing machines, where the existing appliance was not energy efficient or not working.    We have also assisted with carpets, curtains and bedding where this has not been available to our most vulnerable residents.

Working with Schools

As a local authority and as part of the funding requirements set out by the Government we aimed to target households most in need, to ensure we met this requirement we used data to identify a number of primary schools in the most deprived areas of the Borough.  Each school was offered a grant to work with families who were struggling with clothing for school, items such as shoes, coats and in some instances support with food or white goods.   We have worked closely with the Family Liaison Officers in each of the schools identified as part of this project.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How do I apply for support?

You will need to complete the application form in full and provide the required supporting documentation (recent bank statement). Once received your application will be assessed and verified and if further information is required you will be contacted using the contact details provided on your application form. Please make sure that you are familiar with the criteria ahead of applying.

If you have received support through this fund previously you are able to apply for support again through during this final part of our scheme.

If you are requiring support in relation to food, then you can self-refer using the contact details for the People’s Pantry, they will help and support you on our behalf.

+ What will we award?

The financial support will be a one off payment per household and will be a minimum of £100.00 per application. This will be a payment made directly to the bank account details provided on the application form. There will be no direct award of cash or vouchers.

If you are requiring support in relation to food, then you can self-refer using the contact details for the People’s Pantry, they will help and support you on our behalf.

+ What will happen if my bank account is overdrawn? Does this mean I can’t access the money?

The First Right of Appropriation means that when you pay money into your account, you have the right to tell the bank how you want that money to be used. Therefore you must inform the bank (as soon as you find out your application was successful) how you want the money to be used at the time of payment.

+ When will the funding schemes close?

The Household Support Fund has been allocated to the authority via Kent County Council from Central Government. How the funding is utilised is at our discretion but in line with the guidance set out by Central Government, with funding to be committed and spent between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. Our schemes, as administered by us locally, will run to the timeframes indicated, but are subject to change depending on the demand and whether the funding is committed and spent ahead of 31 March 2024.