The Council are relaunching the Food Voucher Scheme for vulnerable households and pensioners in the Borough, as part of the extended Household Support Fund, from this January.
The food vouchers are a voucher that can be used in supermarkets to help with the rising cost of living, freeing up money for other bills.
The criteria have changed from the August/September scheme. Where previously, residents in receipt of Housing Benefit had to also have an entitlement to Council Tax Support, this is now no longer the case, allowing for an extra approximately 500 recipients. Pensioner credits or Savings Pensioner Credit recipients are not included in this round of the scheme.
Letters will be sent direct in the post to eligible households with instructions on how to access and use the voucher.
The vouchers will be issued directly to the following eligible recipients from mid-January:
- £30 per household in receipt of Council Tax Support (approx. 5,000)
- £50 per household for those in receipt of Housing Benefit and who do not receive Council Tax Support
The vouchers will be made available in the following two ways:
- Working age recipients will receive a letter with a QR code to claim the voucher online (an offline option can be made available in certain circumstances)
- Pensionable age recipients will receive a physical voucher. The nearest supermarket has been pre-selected, prior to issue, based on postcode.
Any new qualifying recipients identified after the initial distribution of food vouchers will be sent to Wonde Ltd on a weekly basis to issue vouchers until funding is exhausted or by 31 March 2023, whichever comes sooner.
The food voucher scheme has been made possible by the Household Support Fund. It was recently extended by the Government and has been administered locally by Hampshire County Council under their connect4communities framework. The scheme also has a discretionary fund allocated to schools, colleges, and early years settings to enable them to provide direct support for necessities for families that are most in need.