Knowsley families to get help to heat their homes this winter

Posted: 16/12/2021

We are proud to have successfully secured £48,000 through Knowsley Borough Council’s Hardship Fund to help families struggling to heat their homes and put enough food on the table this winter.

The funding will be used  to deliver a four-part strategy to help those most in need and includes providing families with vouchers for essential items and working with local partners to offer budgeting advice.

Food and fuel vouchers will be made available to eligible families from Stockbridge Village to help them buy groceries and pay energy bills to keep their homes warm.

Furniture vouchers will be offered to eligible new tenants in Knowsley, for example people who have recently been homeless or care leavers, so they can furnish their new place to help make it really feel like home.

The money will also be used to pay for food shopping for tenants at Stockbridge Village Food Club, a project where local people struggling to afford food can purchase 10 items in one go at a greatly reduced price to help their money go further.

We will work with Prescot and Whiston Community Advice Centre to increase the outreach service in Stockbridge Village to help people with money management and budgeting advice to make the most of their income. 

This extra package of measures to support tenants is part of our wider work that the Tenancy Extra Support Scheme (TESS) team does to support people in Knowsley who are at risk of losing their home.

Abigail Winstanley, Neighbourhood Strategic Lead at ForHousing, said: “We know the winter months are a really tough time for many families in Knowsley on low incomes.

“Everyone should have access to basics like food, heating and furniture. At ForHousing we are passionate about tackling poverty and supporting tenants who are struggling as much as we can. 

“It’s all part of our commitment to improving people’s lives, by working with community partners to challenge inequality and poverty.”

Cllr Jayne Aston, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Knowsley’s Better Together Hardship Fund is helping the borough’s most in-need residents get back on their feet following the pandemic. The fund is successfully being allocated to organisations such as ForHousing who can identify where support is needed most. It is real partnership working which epitomises the Knowsley Better Together ethos.”

We have put tackling poverty at the core of its purpose to improve lives and this latest initiative builds on their work over the past two years.

For example, we provide close to £10,000 each year to assist care leavers to purchase furnishings for their new homes and it’s Community and Local Improvement fund has provided grants totalling around £26,000 for community led projects in Knowsley that will benefit local people.

During the pandemic, we focused on collaborating with other organisations to address widening inequalities and ensure that support was available for those most affected by the pandemic. 

Across properties in Knowsley, Oldham and Salford, we worked with local communities to identify 100 families at risk of being left behind, providing over £7,000 in food and fuel vouchers.

We worked closely with local authorities in Salford, Knowsley and West Cheshire to provide 139 homes for temporary accommodation – with 43 people going on to secure permanent homes with us. In addition, we have been providing tenancy sustainment support to more than 750 people in Knowsley and Salford.

Last winter, we secured £25,000 of funding through Knowsley Council from the government’s Covid Winter Grant scheme to help more than 530 households in Knowsley pay for food, household bills and essential sanitary products.

Referrals for the fund can be made by contacting the ForHousing Tenancy Extra Support Scheme via the ForHousing website - https://www.forhousing.co.uk/

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