Extra support for the most vulnerable this winter

Essex County Council is to invest £3.7m of Covid-19 related funding from government and £200k of its own funds to support the most vulnerable in our communities through the winter and beyond.

Building on work to date, including Essex Wellbeing Service, holiday hunger programmes and successful summer camp activity schemes in July, August and October half term, ECC has pulled together a further package of comprehensive support for those who need help during these difficult times.

Vulnerable people’s needs are expected to change as we enter another lockdown. Those living in more deprived areas will be more acutely affected and the county council is targeting support for communities and individuals across Essex. Mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency are known to be on the rise so extra help will be put in place.

The £3.9m support programme will allow for more resources from the county council to be directed to help adults, children and families. The roll out will include the expansion of our holiday hunger programme through to the summer 2021, additional investment in foodbanks, financial assistance for local grassroot organisations and greater levels of advice and support to ensure that Essex residents have a point of contact and a source for advice.

Planned support includes:

Crisis help - £623,000 for:

  • direct support for individuals or families in financial crisis, via food vouchers, energy, bills and white goods, provided by Essex Essential Living Fund
  • discretionary hardship funds to support people required to self-isolate who don’t qualify for the government scheme
  • volunteer practical and emotional support to vulnerable individuals and families from Essex Wellbeing Service

Food - £866,500 distributed via Active Essex and Essex Association of Local Councils for:

  • Extra capacity for food banks
  • Holiday Hunger Clubs to support children and their families with food packages and activity clubs in the Christmas, half terms and Easter school holidays – up to summer 2021.
  • Essential food packages for care leavers.
  • Targeted support for vulnerable families.

Clinically extremely vulnerable - £910,000 new Government funding to meet basic support needs, food and essentials for those most vulnerable due to Covid.

Homelessness - £627,000 new funding to provide safe, long-term homes for rough sleepers and others vulnerable to homelessness.

Mental health and emotional support - £555,000 - for mental health, domestic violence, alcohol and substance misuse services to help people in crisis or experiencing poor mental health and issues due to the pandemic.

Grassroots clubs and activities for children and young people - £134,500 for grants to groups facing financial crisis due to lost income or exceptional costs of making their activities COVID safe. ECC will fund support via the borough, city and district councils who will use local knowledge to distribute the funds to groups within their communities.

Vital support agencies including the Citizens Advice Bureau will receive a total of £212,500. This money will support community and voluntary organisations and infrastructure agencies.

Further announcements are expected about additional lockdown support for businesses, infrastructure and extra operational costs.

Last updated 5 November 2020