The Council are launching a Food Voucher Scheme for vulnerable households and pensioners in the Borough, as part of the extended Household Support Fund, from this August.
The food vouchers are a one-off voucher that can be used in supermarkets to help with the rising cost of living, freeing up money for other bills.
The vouchers will be issued directly to the following eligible recipients from mid-August:
- £30 per household in receipt of Council Tax Support
Letters will be sent direct in the post to eligible households with instructions on how to access and use your voucher.
- £65 per pensioner in receipt of either Guaranteed Pension Credits or Savings Pension Credit
Nearly all of these residents are also in receipt of Council Tax Support and will automatically be sent a voucher in the post. There is a very small number of pensioners who are eligible but not in receipt of Council Tax Support. In these cases, they cannot be automatically identified and will be encouraged to make direct contact with the Council’s Benefits team through email@example.com or by calling 023 8068 8000.
Some pensioners will be eligible to receive both vouchers - individually and then as a household.
The vouchers will be made available in the following two ways:
- Working age recipients will receive a letter with a QR code to claim the voucher online (an offline option can be made available in certain circumstances)
- Pensionable age recipients will receive a physical voucher. The nearest supermarket has been pre-selected, prior to issue, based on postcode.
Any new qualifying recipients identified after the initial distribution of food vouchers will be sent to Wonde Ltd on a weekly basis to issue vouchers until funding is exhausted or by 30 September, whichever comes sooner.
The food voucher scheme has been made possible by the Household Support Fund. It was recently extended by the Government and has been administered locally by Hampshire County Council under their connect4communities framework. The scheme also has a discretionary fund allocated to schools, colleges, and early years settings to enable them to provide direct support for necessities for families that are most in need.
Through the fund, the Council is also working with partner organisations to provide emergency payments to those facing exceptional circumstances or a genuine emergency.