People living in South Norfolk and Broadland who are struggling to pay for food and other essentials due to the Covid-19 crisis are being supported through a special Hardship Fund set up by the two local Councils.
The money is provided to those in need through a grant which means they don’t have to pay it back and risk getting into debt. The aim is to give those in financial hardship an emergency fund to tide them over while they apply for other support such as Universal Credit.
The Hardship Fund is paid twice a week and helps families and individuals in desperate need pay for the basics. The money is distributed via the Housing and Wellbeing Team which looks after residents in South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council.
The funding has come from the Government as part of a package of measures to support people who have been badly affected financially as a result of the current pandemic. The Housing and Wellness Team has set aside £100,000 from the fund for each Council.
Among the recipients are people who found themselves without enough money to pay for food for their family. One person who received a grant from the Hardship Fund told the team: “May I say thank you so very, very kindly. I am truly humble and immensely grateful. Thank you with all my heart.”
Broadland District Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, Councillor Fran Whymark said: “ It is only right we, as a local authority, make sure none of our residents have the additional worry of how to feed themselves and their families on top of the other concerns caused by the Coronavirus crisis. The Hardship Fund is there to bridge the gap until other support such as Universal Credit payments come through.”
South Norfolk Council Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Wellbeing, Councillor Yvonne Bendle said: “This initiative shows how working together both Councils can support local residents at this difficult time. The Hardship Fund has been set up to tide people over. It is there specifically for emergencies such as having no money for food or other essentials. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
In total the government funding for both Councils is £1.4million which also provides for a reduction in Council tax for those residents who are eligible. Those that are in receipt of Council Tax Support/Reduction will automatically receive up to £150 to reduce their Council Tax bill from April 2020.
The Hardship Fund is still open for applications either online or via the telephone.