Thousands of vouchers available to Warwickshire residents struggling to pay utility bills

More than 10,000 vouchers were issued during the last distribution

File image.
File image.

Thousands of families across Warwickshire struggling to pay their utility bills can apply for help from the county council.

In November last year Warwickshire County Council gave out more than 10,000 vouchers to struggling families and households - and now there is another chance for people to apply for the help.

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A spokesperson for the county council said: "The council’s Local Welfare Scheme is offering a one-off payment to families and households finding it difficult to pay for fuel.

"The support is being funded by the Department for Work and Pensions’ Household Support Fund, which supplements ongoing emergency support from the Local Welfare Scheme for residents in financial crisis.

"Sudden unexpected costs can create real challenges for Warwickshire residents who are experiencing financial hardship.

"The Household Support Fund is available to provide short-term financial support to meet immediate needs and help those who are struggling to afford to pay for energy."

Families and households in Warwickshire can apply whether they use pre-payment meters, pay by direct debit or on receipt of an energy bill and applications for the payment, in the form of a voucher, must be made by March 10.

Residents are invited to contact the Local Welfare Scheme team for a confidential discussion about their situation.

Cllr Heather Timms, portfolio holder for Environment, Climate and Culture, said: “This is a time of increased strain for many people and the financial consequences of the pandemic and news of rising household energy bills will leave many residents feeling worried about how they will make ends meet.

“The council is on hand to provide help and as part of our wider offer we are pleased to again offer vouchers towards fuel bills to low-income families and those who can demonstrate need.

"Over 10,000 fuel vouchers were issued last time and February's allocation, coinciding with half term, will extend this offer to many again.

“I’d like to remind people in crisis to contact the Local Welfare Scheme which offers support to those with no other means of help either directly, or through extensive links with a range of support services in the county. I strongly encourage people to look online and get in touch, either for themselves or on behalf of someone else, to find out what help there is.”

A resident who received support last December told the council how the Household Support Fund had helped them:

They said: “I just wanted to say thank you. 2020 and 2021 have been tough. Throughout the year I have struggled and the vouchers you have sent have been a blessing.

"It means a lot, truly. Thank you, and the words don't quite say it enough.”

Anyone entitled to benefits eligible free school meals will automatically receive this support and applications are welcome from others in financial difficulty.

To apply please call 0800 408 1448 or 01926 359182 to speak to an advisor in confidence. More information about the Local Welfare Scheme is online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/localwelfarescheme. For more information about financial support go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/facinghardship.