Spreading cost-of-living goodwill this winter

Energy-saving kitchen devices such as soup makers, as well as essential household goods, draughtproofing and carpeting will soon be making their way to vulnerable Hampshire households, thanks to the latest round of community grants worth £584,000 allocated from the County Council’s share of the national Household Support Fund

Dec 11 2023

close up of a digital electricity meter reading

Further practical support with the cost of living – such as warm winter clothing, bedding, boiler repairs and food vouchers – will also be available to those most in need between now and March 2024. 

Struggling families  will also be able to benefit from the grants allocated to a number of providers to run free school holiday programmes during next February half-term, a period not covered by the popular Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, aimed at school-aged children entitled to income-based free school meals during term-time. 

Councillor Edward Heron, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: 

“We are very pleased to be supporting projects based on value for money and the positive impact they will have on Hampshire residents hardest hit by inflation and energy price rises. The organisations receiving grants have robust plans, based on local knowledge and need, to tackle food and fuel poverty in their communities.
“Although Government figures indicate that inflation is slowing, the cost of living continues to be a major challenge for many, particularly for the elderly, single parent families, and those facing additional challenges such as poor health, housing or fleeing domestic abuse. Without this essential funding, they could suffer a cold and miserable winter.”  

A total of 74 organisations have received grants totalling £584,000. These range from small three-figure grants, to almost £30,000 for a county-wide programme of support for households affected by mental ill health as well as low income. 

They include: 

  • February half term food and activity programmes in Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, New Forest and Winchester. 
  • Community cook and eat clubs in Basingstoke, New Forest and Test Valley. 
  • The purchase and distribution of 300 copies of a locally-produced budget cookery books via community cooking workshops in Winchester, aimed at people at risk of homelessness and sheltered housing residents. 
  • Basic white goods and new flooring for 40 families across Hampshire who have fled domestic abuse and are starting from scratch. 
  • Other practical help to stay warm – such as hooded blankets, winter duvets, soup makers, air fryers, and boiler repairs – is being made available throughout the county.
  • Food support – either in the form of vouchers or parcels – will be available in all areas to households most in need. Some organisations will be creating Christmas food packages to help households while other support is closed for the holiday.
  • Individual initiatives in Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Fareham and Gosport, Havant, New Forest, Test Valley and Winchester to bring people together to cook and eat in a social environment. 

Full details of all current community grant-funded projects in Hampshire are available at connect4communities.org, which will be updated as more projects begin.