South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet today (1 March) approved a £1 million Resilience Support Fund to help support residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on our communities and a variety of schemes have been providing much needed financial support. However, with many requiring applicants to meet specific criteria, it has meant some people, who previously may have been just about managing but now are no longer able to, have not been able to access the support they need.
Our Local Council Tax Relief and Welfare Grant schemes will continue to support those most disadvantaged by the pandemic, but we know that there will continue to be financial pressures on our residents during 2021/22 and that there is a need to support their demonstrated resilience. To achieve this, and particularly to assist those who may not previously have been supported through other schemes, we are introducing a £1 million Resilience Support Fund for the financial year 2021/22.
The Resilience Support Fund will widen the net of support available and is aimed at reaching people who up until now have not been able to access financial assistance. It has been designed to support individuals and their families, and will be as flexible as possible so as not to exclude anyone, taking in to account each applicant’s individual circumstances. All applicants will also be signposted to additional relevant support where appropriate.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing, Cllr Ben Stokes, said: “The pandemic has impacted our communities in many ways. As well as the obvious health impacts there are broader socio-economic impacts for residents of South Gloucestershire, with many affected financially due to redundancy, reduced working hours, furlough, or other factors.
“We know that financial concerns can have significant impacts on individual and family wellbeing both immediately and in the longer term. This funding will help residents to maintain their employment, their homes and to pay their bills. It will aim to provide support over a sustained period to households including those who are not entitled to other benefits.”
Many households may still be above the ‘thresholds’ for traditional support such as the Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) scheme despite their reduced income and fixed or increased ongoing costs. This fund takes this into account and eligible applicants will be supported to meet their household bills to help provide security for them and their families.
We also recognise that there will still need to be support in place for those in our communities who have been financially impacted by the pandemic from the beginning, so £200k of the £1 million will be allocated to support the continuation of the Emergency Assistance Grant Scheme.