Councillor Patricia Stallard, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People, said: “Voluntary, community and third sector organisations are in the ideal position to provide support on our behalf because they are local to the people who need this help and they know their communities best.
“Many families and individuals are finding they are under extra pressure now because of the pandemic, perhaps because of a job loss, and are struggling to pay for the basics – like fuel to heat their homes. Our ‘connect4communities’ programme is designed to provide the helping hand that people in this position need.”
People can find their nearest branch of Citizens Advice on the Service's website and, on the connect4communities online directory, search for local sources of other welfare support.
In addition to the help being made available through the Citizens Advice Service, the County Council is calling for community groups to apply for grants to help fund activities in their area that aim to combat food and fuel poverty by helping to build resilience in their communities. Community, voluntary and charity groups can apply for a Community Grant via the connect4communities.org website.
‘connect4communities’ is programme of support provided by Hampshire County Council, in collaboration with other agency, voluntary and charitable partners. It is funded by the Authority’s £2.89 million Covid Winter Grant from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
At least 80% of the total funding must go towards families with children, with up to 20% allocated for other households in need, including individuals such as young carers and care leavers. The ‘connect4communities’ scheme is being delivered across the county by a range of sources including schools and voluntary groups.