Cumbria County Council have provided financial support to more than 35,000 people as the cost-of-living crisis takes hold.
The alarming figure, which represents around 7% of the Cumbrian population, refers to the number of people who received support through the Household Support Fund between March and September 2022.
The Household Support Fund was introduced to directly help those who need it most, with small grants being provided to support vulnerable households meet daily needs such as food, clothing, and utilities.
Local councils across the country were allocated their share of the fund by central government but it was up to them to administer the fund and make sure it reached the right people.
In total, the county council provided small grants to 7886 pensioners, 7744 households with children, and 2259 other households through their dedicated welfare support helpline.
Grants were also provided to local carers associations working with older people coming out of hospital to help them pay for essential household items as well as the county council’s Winter Warmth Campaign. The campaign is managed by Cumbria Community Foundation and Age UK and supports pensioner households who need additional support – helping and additional 700 pensioners during the same period.
14,600 free school meal vouchers were also distributed to help make sure all children in Cumbria received enough food during the summer school holidays.
Cllr Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how hard our exceptional staff have worked to make sure this many people received the financial support they needed to get them through the last few months.
“The numbers of people needing to access this support has been overwhelming for our teams at times, but they’ve battled on and delivered an incredible amount of support to the people who need it most.
“Unfortunately, these figures show that thousands of Cumbrians are in dire need of additional support and are really struggling to make ends meet. I’m pleased to say that it looks as though the Household Support Fund will be extended but we’re waiting to hear details on this, and we’ll update the public when we do learn more.
If we can’t provide you with financial support from the Household Support Fund, we will be able to signpost you to the support that’s right for you and your individual circumstances.”submit an online application for additional support through the county council’s website.“For now, I urge every single Cumbrian struggling to buy food, pay their bills or heat their home, to