What is it?
Blackburn with Darwen has received a government grant to support families and children and other vulnerable adults through the winter period to access food, support with utility bills and other essentials to help keep people warm and fed. This project is known as the COVID Winter Grant Scheme.
The Council and partners in the VCFS have been working together at pace to develop a programme of support that can help our most vulnerable residents access much needed support. The programme will run between 1st December 2020 and 31st March 2021.
Who is it for?
The grant is primarily for families with children under 19 as of 31st March 2021 who may not meet the threshold for benefits but have been affected directly by the pandemic through job losses, furlough, taking time off work unpaid to care for children who are isolating etc and for those who are eligible for free school meals, healthy start vouchers, young people not in education or training. Some support for other vulnerable adults is also available where appropriate.
What is available and where?
There are three elements of the grant scheme:
- Support to access food – we have boosted the capacity of Blackburn Foodbank and Darwen Food Larder to support families who are in food crisis. We have also issued a number of small grants for extra community food support across Blackburn and Darwen.
- Support with utility bills – we have three local organisations supporting residents who may be struggling to pay fuel and water bills over winter. United Utilities are also partnering with us to help the most vulnerable with their water bills.
- Support with essential items – support is available to replace broken washers, cookers, fridges and freezers, for boiler servicing and repairs and where families are struggling to afford essential toiletries, sanitary products, warm clothing and blankets.
Who are we working with?
Blackburn Foodbank, Darwen Food Larder, Care Network, BwD Healthy Living, Rummage Rescuers, Jubilee Tower Credit Union, United Utilities, Community Business Partners, Community Centres in BwD, Benefit Mankind, Youth Action, South East Blackburn community Food Club and THOMAS.
How do I refer/signpost families or individuals for support?
The BwD Help Hub is the central point of contact for the Winter Grant Scheme.
There is an online referral for our partners to complete (will require you to sign up if you have not done so previously) which will go straight through to our Community Connectors and Engagement and Integration Officers. They will pick the referral up and signpost on to the appropriate service for the relevant support.
People can self-refer by telephoning the Help Hub (01254 588111) between 9-5 pm or anytime via the online form if they prefer.