West Swindon Parish Council

Vulnerable people affected by pandemic to benefit from government funding

Councillors in West Swindon set up Swindon Support to give help and assistance to people during the pandemic. https://www.swindonsupport.uk/

Local people struggling to afford food and essential supplies due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will be able to benefit from grant funding from the Government.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has given Swindon Borough Council a grant of £227,827 in order to help vulnerable residents in its communities.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Council and a number of local organisations have been providing food to those ‘shielding’ and to those unable to afford to pay for food.

Over the last six months alone, the Council’s Emergency Assistance Fund has helped 291 people, while the Live Well Hub has distributed 625 free food parcels to residents who could not afford to pay for their food and had no-one to look after them.

The DEFRA funding has been provided to allow the Council and local groups to continue to provide this help to those that need it.

The Council’s Hardship and Social Enterprise Groups have been working to identify the local groups providing assistance and the numbers of residents that they have been helping.

As a result, the grant has been awarded to the following council schemes and organisations:

  • Swindon Borough Council Emergency Assistance Fund – the Fund provides food, electric, heating and essential furniture to low income households with urgent domestic circumstances
  • Swindon Borough Council Live Well Hub - provides food to residents who were/are shielding or in isolation that are assessed as being unable to afford to pay.
  • Infection Control Food Fund – This will provide food for individuals or households where someone has tested positive for COVID-19 as confirmed and referred by Public Health. The Fund helps people who have to stay away from work and who are facing short-term financial hardship due to having no income (e.g. on zero hours contract work or limited statutory sick pay). This fund will work together with the Council team awarding the recently announced Test and Trace payments, which will be paid to those on low incomes who have to isolate and who cannot go to work. This will go live at the beginning of October.
  • Swindon Food Collective - currently provides food for 600 people a month and bulk food donations to several organisations including the Harbour Project, Booth House and other hostels and local homeless charities.
  • Swindon Scrapstore - provides an average of 20 food parcels per week to vulnerable households who are referred by council staff and advice agency staff.
  • Swindon Night Shelter– provides 30 to 50 food boxes per week to people presenting to the Night Shelter as homeless.
  • Harbour Project – funding will enable the charity to provide dozens of food parcels a week to those without recourse to public funds and to those who have lost their jobs and have no benefits in payment.
  • Bags/Boxes of Hope – Gorse Hill Baptist Church – has provided approximately 40-45 boxes per week to individuals or families in need with reduced income or loss of employment. Referrals are made from schools, the Council’s housing and social care teams, and other churches.
  • Swindon Carers Centre - Has provided one-off food parcels to individuals and families supported by Swindon Carers (around 2-3 per week on average)

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