Release date: 17 October 2023
Household Support Fund Awareness Week takes place this week. Ahead of this, a Government Minister visited two libraries to meet West Sussex County Council teams responsible for the coordination and delivery of the Household Support Fund (HSF).
Mims Davies, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, and MP for Mid Sussex, visited East Grinstead Library and Littlehampton Library last week and heard from staff about the latest distribution of the HSF.
The county council has been allocated approximately £9.7million by the Department for Work and Pensions to provide HSF assistance up to 31 March 2024. Teams responsible for the coordination and delivery of the fund have worked with partners including the council’s Library Service, Citizens Advice, Carers Support West Sussex, food banks, fuel banks, community based organisations and all seven West Sussex district and borough councils, to reach West Sussex residents in most need. HSF is largely spent on supporting children in receipt of term-time free school meals, with meal vouchers for the holidays.
Minister for Social Mobility Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, said: “As part of my ongoing engagement, learning and understanding about the impact and value of the Household Support Fund, it was great visit Littlehampton and East Grinstead libraries as part of awareness week. I met the West Sussex County Council teams, the charities and partners working together in their communities to see the vital support being delivered to the most vulnerable members, all thanks to our £2 billion investment in Household Support Fund.
“It was great to listen to what’s happening all across West Sussex before my next stop in Buckinghamshire. I am very keen, as part of the awareness campaign, local MPs and Councillors know what additional help and support is out there in their communities as we head into winter.
“Since 2021, the Government has delivered over £24 million of the fund to West Sussex, helping them to deliver thousands of essentials packs for distribution to those who need it most, as well as providing help with energy bills and the cost of white goods.
“I do encourage anyone struggling and worried with the cost of living to visit the West Sussex County Council website and search for Household Support Fund or visit their local West Sussex library to find out what support is available for them.”
Cllr Duncan Crow, county council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “I was delighted the Minister took the time to talk to our Community Hub and Library staff, and some of our partners, and heard about the latest distribution of the Household Support Fund. The Government funding enables us to continue working with our partners to help those West Sussex residents most in need of financial assistance.
“We totally understand that families and households across the county are worried about the cost of living and global inflationary challenges. We will continue to build on the success of our partnership working with all our partners to get help to where it’s most needed. My thanks go to everyone involved.”
West Sussex County Council’s Community Hub is open 9am to 5pm seven days a week and offers information, advice and guidance regarding what support is available, along with administering the application-based element of the HSF scheme. Residents can telephone 033 022 27980 or fill in a contact form online.
Library staff continue to support the fund as the face-to-face contact point for residents in 36 locations across West Sussex. Staff can support residents with using or accessing digital services to make an application. Libraries also provide access to direct support from a range of partners, for example health and wellbeing, or financial advice.
Household Support Fund fact file:
- In April, the Government announced the continuation of the Household Support Fund (HSF), with £842million made available to county councils and unitary authorities in England.
- The HSF is used to support households most in need of help with the rising cost of living, particularly those who may not be eligible for the other assistance the Government has recently made available but who nevertheless require crisis support.
- Details on West Sussex County Council’s response to the cost of living are available on westsussex.gov.uk
- Further information on the Government’s response to the cost of living is available on GOV.UK.