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Gloucestershire Business News

Emergency Living Fund set up to help people in financial hardship

Gloucestershire County Council has extended its existing Welfare Support Scheme to create a new Emergency Living Fund to help people who are in financial hardship because of the coronavirus.

The council has also increased the funding that is available to support people through the COVID-19 pandemic by almost 40 percent, and has also changed the criteria so more people will be able to apply.

The Welfare Support Scheme already provides practical support to those in financial hardship for things like food deliveries, rent, gas and electricity top-ups, and essential household items such as furniture and white goods.

The new fund will offer more help, and now covers the replacement of white goods that have broken down, supermarket vouchers and cash when necessary.

You can apply for help if:

  • You are a Gloucestershire resident over the age of 16 and you are classed as being in a vulnerable group, for example, you have a history of mental illness or you need support to avoid uncontrollable debt; and
  • You are either on a low income or receive benefits; or you are on a low income or are newly unemployed and you are waiting for a benefit claim.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "In times of crisis, it is often the most disadvantaged people who are worst affected. We are putting in place an additional safety net for our most vulnerable residents who have been affected by Covid-19 to support them through this difficult time."

The Covid-19 Emergency Living Fund launched on Monday 4 May and applications for help will be reviewed within 24 hours, with people who are approved for support getting the help they need another 24 hours after that.*

In addition to this, another specialist support scheme for vulnerable children and families has also been extended. Previously only social workers could refer children and families for support but this has also been changed so now any professional can refer them for help.

For more information on who can receive support and how to apply or refer someone, visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/covid-19-emergency-living-fund.

*For white goods, the timescale is up to 10 days and is subject to suppliers' availability.

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