Support for Islanders facing hardship

Published: 1 June 2022

Financed by the £1.1 million Household Support Fund, awarded to the authority by the the Department for Work and Pensions, the new measures target households in greatest need with utility costs, food and water bills.

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children's services, said: "The rising cost of living is a challenge for most people, but it is especially difficult for low-income pensioners, as well as families with children who might be struggling with food and utility bills.

"The council is using the Household Support Fund to support vulnerable Islanders, especially with the cost of food and energy bills. We have used the funding to develop a suite of targeted, supportive measures that aim to help households with children, the elderly and other vulnerable residents who are struggling financially."

The programme includes:

• food vouchers for residents receiving Local Council Tax Support;

• funding to expand and support community pantries on the Island;

• support via Citizens Advice for residents struggling to meet the cost of their food and utility bills;

• a new community grants scheme to support community groups with food and fuel initiatives;

• emergency housing support.

Food vouchers

A voucher scheme will be available to vulnerable households which will provide a one-off £125 food voucher for residents eligible for Local Council Tax Support and Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit, a one-off £50 food voucher per household eligible for Local Council Tax Support and benefits-related Free School Meals or Early Years’ Pupil Premium  and a one-off £25 food voucher for residents eligible for Local Council Tax Support where there are no children or pensioners living at the property.

The vouchers will be available via an application process, details of which will be announced in due course.

Support for food and utility costs

Citizens Advice will use the funding to provide food vouchers as well as direct financial support to households with fuel bills that do not meet the eligibility criteria for the food voucher scheme.

It is anticipated that more than 600 households will benefit from this funding.

Households wanting advice about support available with household bills, can contact the existing Help Through Crisis Helpline: (01983) 823859.

Community pantries

Funding will be used to set up two new community pantries in areas of need. Additional funding will also be used to support the three existing pantries at East Cowes, Ventnor and Ryde.

Community pantries work on the principle of giving those in need the opportunity to have a ‘helping hand’ by getting food at a lower rate on a weekly basis. Items found in the pantry will be a range of fresh, frozen, and general foods which will change on a weekly basis.

Community grants

Local community groups will be encouraged to apply for grants that will help support those most in need in their communities with food and fuel initiatives. Further information will shortly be announced on how groups can apply for funding.

For further advice and support, visit the connect4communities website: