More than £3m funding to help Notts families in poverty until March

More than £3 million in Government funding is set to help struggling Nottinghamshire families until March – but concerns have been raised about what support will be available after the pandemic.

By Anna Whittaker
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 8:01 am

In autumn, Nottinghamshire Council was allocated £5.6m to support those in “immediate need” during the pandemic through food, energy and water bills and other essential costs.

The funding must be spent by March 2022 – but a councillor raised concerns during a communities committee meeting that ‘once Covid has gone, poverty still exists’.

A total of £2.3m of the funding was used to provide food vouchers to children entitled to Free School Meals for each of the five school holiday weeks between October and the end of March.

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A total of £2.3m of the funding was used to provide food vouchers during the school holidays to children entitled to Free School Meals.

The remaining £3.3m is now being spent by the authority.

Mark Walker, trading standards and communities group manager, said that, as of January 24, 6,233 households had received a total of £477,545 split between food and energy costs.

He said nearly a quarter of the pot had gone into Ashfield.

Poverty

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Coun Glynn Gilfoyle said: “Clearly Covid has highlighted the state of poverty out there in Nottinghamshire.

“My concern is, once this money is finished, what is going to be there to support the families that are still suffering from poverty?

“Is more money going to be made available for the longer term for those individuals? We need to be helping.

“I support it. but am concerned for the future. Once Covid has gone, poverty still exists.”

Mr Walker said: “We are working within the Government framework and the funding period ends on March 31, so we have to deploy the funding by that point.”

The authority has also decided to open the Household Support Fund for residents to apply directly for financial assistance, without the need to be referred through a professional.

Coun John Cottee, committee chairman, said: “We recognise a number of residents have experienced immense difficulties throughout the past two years due to the pandemic.

“I hope speeding up the process of how we provide support to people most in need, by enabling them to make an application directly to the fund, will help alleviate some of the financial worries they are facing.”

Councillors voted to establish three temporary roles to help with the delivery of the funding before the scheme ends in March.

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