Cabinet has agreed proposals for the Council to provide a new funding support package of nearly £4.3 million to support local communities, families and residents impacted by the Cost of Living crisis.
The scheme was agreed by the Cabinet at their meeting on Monday, 18 September, and is in addition to several support schemes that have already been delivered by the Council in response to the crisis. The previous £2.9 million scheme was delivered in autumn 2022. The 2022 support package helped to alleviate the hardships of families and individuals most affected by providing direct financial support to families with children and supporting food banks.
The Council’s 2023 Cost of Living Support scheme includes:
- A Payment to Families with One Child or More of Compulsory School Age – a payment of £125 will be made to eligible families who live in Rhondda Cynon Taf. This includes children who are home-schooled, attend a school within Rhondda Cynon Taf or attend school outside of the County Borough. Please note that this payment is per family and not per child. Around 22,000 families will be entitled to this payment totalling £2.750M.
- Local Cost of Living Hardship Fund – Resident Support – a package of £260,000 has been created as a discretionary fund to assist residents who are experiencing extreme financial hardship. The fund includes £100,000 towards fuel vouchers to help residents heat their homes; £60,000 to assist residents with purchasing energy-saving kitchen appliances and food vouchers; and finally, a supplementary allocation of £100,000 to be added to our existing Discretionary Housing Payments. Eligibility for each of these funds will be made available on the Council’s website.
- Local Cost of Living Hardship Fund – Community Support – this package is targeted towards community support and includes £80,000 to assist community venues with becoming Winter Welcome Centres. These are centres that will provide warm pack items, drinks, and snacks to residents in need. Additionally, the package will allocate £30,000 for venues to provide hot meals and an additional £50,000 for further financial hardship support. In total, the community support package will total £160,000. Eligibility for this fund will be made available on the Council’s website.
- Support to Food Banks – a £50,000 support package will be provided to support local food banks and food support grants. This repeats the level of support previously provided by the last two schemes.
- Community Facilities Energy Support Grant – a support grant of £130,000 will be made available to not-for-profit organisations to help with energy cost pressures. These organisations include facilities that provide a combination of activities and/or sporting activities who will be required to apply for a payment of £540 per organisation.
The scheme is expected to be rolled out between October and December 2023 and further details regarding specific elements of the scheme, including how to apply and eligibility, will be made available on the Council’s website. The total cost of the scheme is £4.292 million.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This further Local Cost of Living Support Scheme for 2023 aims to help residents and families who are facing financial hardships due to the ongoing Cost of Living crisis. The scheme will ensure that families who are struggling receive the help they need in light of increased costs of fuel, food, and energy.
“Even though inflation decreased to 6.8% in July, and the energy price cap is due to decrease to £1,923 from 1 October, energy prices and food costs remain extremely high. Additionally, as we come towards the end of the year, many households will be faced with increasing expenses to heat their homes, and the pressures we all face at Christmas. It is vital that as a Local Authority we provide extra support to those who need it most.
“There are five main elements to the agreed Council support – to provide £125 payments for eligible families with school-aged child(ren), a £260,000 resident support hardship fund, a £160,000 community support hardship fund, a £50,000 support package for local foodbanks, and a £130,000 package to help relieve energy cost pressures for not-for-profit organisations who run community facilities.
“Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is committed to helping our residents as much as we can. We are proud to announce the implementation of a further support package and I am sure that these additional measures will support families and individuals across our communities to overcome some Cost of Living pressures.”
Eligibility and further information:
- Payment to Families with one Child or more of Compulsory School Age:
- Compulsory School Age will be determined by the start of the school term beginning September 2023.
- A child begins to be of compulsory school age the term following their 5th birthday.
- If a family has one or more children born between 1st September 2007 (i.e. age 16 as at 31st August 2024) and 31st August 2018 (i.e. age 5 as at 31st August 2023) and reside in Rhondda Cynon Taf, then they will be eligible for a Family Payment.
- The payment will not impact upon any benefits (e.g. Universal Credit).
- Community Facility Energy Support Grant:
- Community based not-for-profit organisations who are known to the Council (RCT together) and who run a combination of activities and/or sporting activities will be invited to apply for this funding.
- It is anticipated that invitations will be distributed during October 2023.
Posted on 21/09/2023