Blackpool Council joins calls for vital crisis funding to be extended

Blackpool Council has joined calls to extend a crucial financial support scheme for struggling households in Blackpool.

Organisations including The Children’s Society, Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s, the Local Government Association, and other councils across the country are calling on the Government to extend the Household Support Fund, which is due to end on 31st March. The fund enables councils to provide emergency support suited to the needs of their communities, whether that is so families can buy essentials such as food, energy or help with providing white goods or furniture.

In the last year Blackpool Council has supported over 27,000 households including families with children. The increased cost of living as well as inflated rental and mortgage costs has forced many more families into financial crisis and on the brink of destitution.

The Household Support Fund can be used to support families by providing vouchers for food, in one case shared with The Children’s Society this meant a mother could use her benefits to keep the bailiffs away and to help her get on top of things after fleeing domestic violence. It will be a long slow journey to financial stability, but without the help of the household support fund, they would have had possessions taken by bailiffs and faced the potential loss of their home. She described the vouchers as a blessing and a lifeline.

Without this funding there are concerns there will be a major gap in support, which could severely affect children’s health, wellbeing and life chances.

Cllr Jo Farrell, Cabinet Member for Levelling Up (People), said: “The Household Support fund has helped us provide essential support to vulnerable households. During school holidays, we have been able to provide support to over 5000 families eligible for free school meals. Blackpool has the high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals and this support is now at risk of coming to an end at very short notice.

“We have also been able to deliver a vast range of support projects through partnership with our local voluntary sector, a substantial element of this will not be sustainable without this essential funding.”

Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said “The Household Support Fund has provided a vital safety net for so many families facing financial crisis and destitution.

“We have seen it provide a wide range of support such help when a family has a sudden job loss, bereavement or boiler breakdown. It can also as supplying food vouchers for children over the summer. We are really concerned that if the funding is not renewed past March these vouchers will disappear and holiday hunger will be a major issue.

“We are asking the public to write to their MP to call on the Government to take action and extend the fund so families in crisis aren’t left without support.”

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