The Winter Support Grant Scheme is now available for residents in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse who need help to buy food and heating their homes this winter.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have been working with Oxfordshire County Council and other district councils to distribute the nearly £1.4million given to the county by the Department for Work and Pensions in December 2020 as part of the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.
The main part of this grant has been used to make sure children in the county had access to free school meals over the school holidays towards the end of last year. From the remaining funding South Oxfordshire District Council has received £76,006 and Vale of White Horse has been allocated £73,430. The distribution of the grant will be managed by the councils in partnership with Citizens Advice, across both districts and through the Wantage Independent Advice Centre in the Vale.
Covid-19 has impacted on many people financially over the last ten months, and for some this may be the first time that they find themselves requiring help from others. Residents in need of support are being encouraged to contact their local accredited advice service. After talking through their options, the centre can arrange payments that could be a combination of supermarket vouchers, top up fuel vouchers (for those with prepayment meters) and direct payment of fuel bills. The advice centres will deliver this support as part of a holistic assessment of the resident’s needs and the provision of an appropriate package of support and advice.
Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers Cabinet Member for Community Services at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “We know that for some people asking for help isn’t easy. But this support is there, and we want to be able to do what we can to make sure that those who need help access it. No one should be going hungry in our district and no one should be worried about turning their heating on because they can’t pay the bill. If you know of anyone in need of help this winter, please encourage them to contact their nearest Advice Centre.”
Cllr Helen Pighills Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “It is vital that anyone needing help this winter knows that there is support out there. Even if they have had a voucher from a previous scheme, they can have one again through this grant to help provide a meal for their family.”
Cllr Bethia Thomas Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Covid-19 has hit many people hard, we have been doing all we can to help as a council and this is another way in which we can offer much needed financial support”
The Winter Support Grant scheme launched on Monday 11 January and will close on 31 March 2021.
In the Vale of White Horse residents can also contact their local Citizens Advice centre via their website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/oxfordshire-south-vale/ or by calling Citizens Advice – 0300 3309042 or they can speak to Wantage Independent Advice Centre – 01235 765348 and visit their website https://www.wantageadvice.org.uk