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£2.65m winter fund to support struggling families in BCP Council area

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STRUGGLING Christchurch families will be helped by a £2.65m government grant this winter.

At least a half will be spent on families with children, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

BCP councillors were told that the government’s Household Support Fund payment is expected to be spent on Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole households in the most need to help with food, energy and water bills.

The cash will be spent in the BCP Council area
The cash will be spent in the BCP Council area

Most of the funding, which runs until the end of March, will be offered through the council and its partners, with the majority of families in need of support put forward by schools.

Others, including adults, will be identified through work with community groups, the Citizens Advice Bureaux, family centres, the Access to Food Partnership and the Dorset Community Foundation, as well as other local organisations and the council’s own staff.

Portfolio holder Cllr Nicola Greene said the funding is more structured than last year when it was offered in a piecemeal way, and should provide higher levels of support to those who need it.

“This is really timely. It is part of our winter resilience plan and will help a lot of people get through to the spring,” she said.

Around £60,000 of the funding is expected to be used directly to help food banks, community fridges and ­­­­­similar food providers.

Cllr Bobbie Dove welcomed the funding: “It demonstrates that people are at the centre of everything we do and it’s reassuring that we have plans in place to support residents.

"It will tackle all of the things people are likely to be worrying about. We don’t want people struggling this winter.”­­­

Deputy council leader Cllr Philip Broadhead said that the government funding would see a doubling of available support in some areas and ensure that the winter was a little less challenging for some than it might otherwise have been.

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