Boost to multi-million-pound community support package revealed
4 October 2022
2022, Cost of Living Crisis
Norfolk County Council has released details of the multi-million-pound support package that is available to communities through a wide range of initiatives. This is being boosted by the latest round of the Household Support Fund from the government, which is worth £6.7m, and is being bolstered by the county council with a further £1.2m, adding to the already significant investments planned for Norfolk communities.
The funding will enable the continuation of the excellent partnership work that has happened across the county date, including creation of 15 food hubs across the County through a pioneering collaboration with the community foundation. This has supported 12,000 people already, with other parts of the country seeking to learn from this best practice.
To date the cost-of-living support through the multi-million-pound package has helped over 128,000 households with £14.3m of funding. People can see which support they are eligible for and apply for help online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nas
Cllr Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “We know that some of our residents face financial challenges this winter with the massive increase in the cost-of-living, particularly rising energy costs and food prices. This extended package of investment will help those most in need to access additional support over the winter months, including help with energy and water costs.
"The County Council has invested heavily over the last 12 months and is committed to the continuation of vital support to Norfolk Households this Winter, including adding £1.2 million to the latest round of Household Support Funds in addition to wider, longer-term investment into our communities”
“Building on the strong partnerships established across Norfolk, we are working alongside the district councils, the voluntary sector, and schools to make sure we can reach those who need this support the most. It will also provide some much-needed help over the Christmas period.”
Recognising the need for local interventions and the role of voluntary and community organisations, the county council is providing Norfolk Community Foundation with £220,000 to provide grants of up to £2,000 towards the cost of running or establishing a Community Hot-Spot that gives a warm welcome to the whole community, in particular reaching those who are vulnerable or have been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
Claire Cullens, Chief Executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “The funding Norfolk County Council is making available for communities via the Norfolk Community Foundation is critical and much welcomed.
“Working with our vital frontline charities this funding will enable us to offer support in two key areas. It will help us to build a network of community hotspots providing warm places across the county for people to come together. In addition, it enables us to reopen the opportunity to help struggling households manage their increasing utilities costs. Last winter this programme saw nearly 20,000 households supported on food bills at what was a very challenging time.
“We are delighted to see our partnership continue and expand at a time when coming together has never been more important.”
Vicky Aitken, Acting CEO of Age UK Norfolk, said: “Following the success of the current Household Support Fund, Age UK will be supporting this next release of funding focussed on utility payment support. We have recognised that minimum wage and zero-hour workers may have felt they were not entitled to support in previous rounds, therefore we would especially encourage those aged 50 plus with low incomes to reach out to the Norfolk Assistance Scheme. If you would prefer to chat to us first, please call the Your Norfolk Advice line on 0333 996 8333 where our Triage team will be more than happy to discuss potential support.”
Pete Holland, Anglian Water’s Director of Customer and Wholesale Services, said: “We know this year is going to be incredibly challenging for many our customers. We’re incredibly proud of the support provided over the last year but the next 12 months are going be tougher, and we all need to act.
“We’re pleased to be working with Norfolk County Council, Norwich Age UK and Norfolk Community Foundation to highlight the support we can offer for anyone struggling to pay their bills. This year we’ve put forward £65 million of tailored affordability support – this is the biggest package of support we’ve ever provided, meaning we can help even more people in a way that’s tailored to their individual circumstances.
“This support includes discounted tariffs, meaning eligible customers can get up to 50 per cent off their water bill, as well as affordable payment plans, and payment holidays in certain circumstances. We also offer direct support through the Anglian Water Assistance Fund, which is specially designed to help to cover the cost of bills when people are going through the most challenging times. The support package will also signpost customers to potential government benefits they may be able to claim.
“Whatever the circumstances, our message to customers is simple: if you’re struggling, please get in touch. The sooner we talk, the sooner we can help.”
In summary NCC’s investment in Norfolk communities includes:
•£7m of capital funding for Multi-Use Hubs which will re-develop town centres in King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth, co-locating Adult Education and Libraries alongside wider community support
•£4.7m in multiply funding aimed at improving adult numeracy skills through free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses
•£2.7m for the Holiday Activity and Food programme in conjunction with Active Norfolk, providing free holiday activities for eligible children and young people aged 5-16 in Norfolk
•£1.2m for Nourishing Norfolk, Warm Spaces, and to expand the capacity of the Advice Network
The continuation of the Household Support Fund will be spent in several areas:
•£3.6m for cost-of-living vouchers to families of free school meals eligible children with those eligible receiving a total of £120 in vouchers per child for the period
•£2.7m to continue the county council’s existing Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS) which provides emergency financial help, essential household goods, and advice and support for all Norfolk residents in need
•£0.9m for district councils to provide community support which targets those most in need, and focuses on providing initial emergency support, as well as providing onwards referral via the NAS
•£0.4m of support targeted to voluntary and community groups, via the Norfolk Community Foundation, enabling Norfolk’s voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, faith groups, and town and parish councils to enable direct support to some of our most vulnerable communities
•£0.22m to voluntary and community organisations to cover core costs for providing warm spaces for vulnerable people to access and provide signposting for additional help or support that they might need
•£0.084m to support libraries to continue their “Warm and Well” schemes, and “Grab and Go” bags, including free sanitary products