Hundreds of Northumberland households facing hardship offered grants

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Northumberland County Council has launched a new initiative to support households facing hardship as a result of coronavirus.

The council is delivering the Winter Support Grant Scheme (WSGS) with funding from the Department of Working Pensions (DWP) and in partnership with community organisations across the county.

The (WSGS) is helping households with food, or fuel and water payments.

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Eligible households are being contacted by the council’s Northumberland Communities Together team (NCT) and are being offered vouchers to be spent at supermarket chains, or a direct cash payment as well as a community-led food offers.

Northern Soul Kitchen is supporting an initiative to help households suffering hardship.Northern Soul Kitchen is supporting an initiative to help households suffering hardship.
Northern Soul Kitchen is supporting an initiative to help households suffering hardship.

A digital app has been developed to ensure residents are able to access the simplest and most effective support and assistance.

The new scheme comes after the NCT team worked alongside the council’s digital team to come up with a digital solution called Northumberland Choices, to further support households. The app provides access to a variety of support options with food and other essentials for households over the winter period.

The app was tested during a pilot scheme with 60 families in the north Northumberland area.

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Working in partnership with Berwick-based food waste initiative Northern Soul Kitchen (NSK), the pilot offered households a choice of a hamper or takeaway from NSK or a visit to its café, as well as supermarket vouchers or a PayPoint cash payment. The app allowed families to make their choice quickly, easily and discreetly.

The app also supported an NCT’s partnership with schools in Northumberland in helping to provide vouchers over the Christmas break for families who are entitled to Free School Meals.

Cllr Veronica Jones, the council cabinet member responsible for the NCT initiative, said: “We have seen an increase in demand for support and assistance as a result of Covid-19, and our communities have pulled together and supported those most in need.

“The WSGS and the new app will provide support to families this winter, with some households already benefiting from the scheme in the run-up to Christmas.”

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For more details of the support available call 01670 620015 between 9am to 6pm, seven days a week or email [email protected]

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