Kirklees Council received additional monies from Government during 2020/21 to support Vulnerable Households.
Latterly the funding was provided to target Food and Fuel poverty in the shape of the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. Some of that funding was provided by Kirklees Council to us through our partnership with them in the long-standing Local Welfare Provision Scheme.
The aim was to give vulnerable households peace of mind in the run-up to Christmas and over the winter months during the pandemic by helping those who need it to have food on the table and other essentials, so every child was warm and well-fed during the winter period.
Here are some examples of how individuals and families living in the Huddersfield area have accessed the funds through The Welcome Centre food bank and its difference.
Finally, our new flat is starting to feel like a home.
Paula has three children and fled from an abusive relationship. She managed to get a flat that was semi-furnished but she couldn't afford to buy suitable beds. The three children slept in the double bed and she slept on the sofa. When she applied for Universal Credit she was told she could get help with food packs and contacted Local Welfare Provision who referred her to The Welcome Centre. She had mentioned the need for a bunk bed for the children and through a grant application, we were able to buy a set of bunk beds, mattresses and supply new bedding for the whole family. Paula was delighted.
Clare was working part-time and has two young children. At the beginning of the year, her mental health worsened and she had to give up her part-time job. She had no savings and was reliant upon basic benefits. Her cooker was broken and she was trying to manage with a single hotplate that her friend had given her, but it wasn't big enough. Her children were mainly eating soup and bread and Clare really wanted to be able to cook them proper meals as she always had. Through the Winter Fund, we were able to get her a replacement cooker and encouraged her to see her GP. They and made a referral to IAPT, who assessed her mental health and provided her with counselling.
Simon is 21 years old with no family support. He grew up in care and has struggled to cope since he left and started living on his own. He was supported to get a flat and has saved up his benefits to buy himself a bed, mattress, sofa and cooker. He has proud of his new flat but ran out of funds to finish it off. To do his washing he was travelling on buses to the nearest launderette, which was expensive. With the right support in place, Simon knew he could make a go of this property and learn to live independently. Through the Winter Fund, we got him a washing machine and gave him details of The Works Better 15-25 team, who were able to help him towards getting an apprenticeship.
Jamila lost her part-time job due to Covid-19. She claimed Universal Credit but had to wait 5 weeks for her first payment. She was referred to The Welcome Centre by Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre for food packs. Her fridge had broken and she couldn't afford to replace it. Jamila is diabetic and needs to keep her injections in the fridge. She also eats lots of fresh fruit and veg and needed a fridge to keep her food fresh for longer. Via the Winter Fund, we were able to get her a replacement fridge. She had mentioned that she felt quite lonely through having to shield, so we made a referral to The Jubilee Centre in Paddock, where she lives and they were able to make regular welfare calls to her, to ensure she was managing.
For more information about this government scheme visit Covid Winter Fund.