Telford & Wrekin Council joins calls for vital crisis funding to be extended

Telford & Wrekin Council has joined calls to extend a crucial financial support scheme for struggling households in the borough.

Telford & Wrekin Council joins calls for vital crisis funding to be extended

Organisations including The Children’s Society, Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s, the Local Government Association, and other councils across the country are calling on the Government to extend the Household Support Fund, which is due to end on 31st March. The fund enables councils to provide emergency support suited to the needs of their communities, whether that is so families can buy essentials such as food, energy or help with providing white goods or furniture. 

In the last year Telford & Wrekin Council has supported over 13,500 households including families with children. The increased cost of living as well as inflated rental and mortgage costs has forced many more families into financial crisis and on the brink of destitution. 

The Household Support Fund can be used to support families by providing vouchers for food, in one case shared with The Children’s Society this meant a mother could use her benefits to keep the bailiffs away and to help her get on top of things after fleeing domestic violence. It will be a long slow journey to financial stability, but without the help of the household support fund, they would have had possessions taken by bailiffs and faced the potential loss of their home. She described the vouchers as a blessing and a lifeline.

Without this funding there are concerns there will be a major gap in support which could severely affect children’s health, wellbeing and life chances. 

Councillor Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said: “Since the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout the cost-of-living crisis, the Household Support Fund has been an essential lifeline for many of the most financially vulnerable children and pension-age residents around the country. 

“We know that many households depend on receiving this help and will find it hard to adjust if the Household Support Fund ends, as there is no alternative provision available. Our local food banks have had more demand this winter than ever, and we have no other discretionary funding available to support them further, or to allow us to increase the support we are directly providing to residents through our Crisis Assistance funding, which is also seeing unprecedented demand. 

“What’s more, the removal of the Household Support Fund is likely to place additional pressure on other council services, such as mental health and social care for adults and children, which are already under severe financial strain.

“That’s why earlier this month, I wrote directly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, calling on him to extend the Household Support Fund in next month’s Budget announcements, and it’s why Telford & Wrekin Council is joining the Children’s Society and other concerned organisations to reiterate that call now.”

Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said “The Household Support Fund has provided a vital safety net for so many families facing financial crisis and destitution.  

“We have seen it provide a wide range of support such as help when a family has a sudden job loss, bereavement or boiler breakdown. It can also supply food vouchers for children over the summer. We are really concerned that if the funding is not renewed past March these vouchers will disappear and holiday hunger will be a major issue. 

“We are asking the public to write to their MP to call on the Government to take action and extend the fund so families in crisis aren’t left without support.”