Individuals and families who are struggling to meet the cost of basic essentials as a result of the impact of the lockdown measures can take advantage of support being provided by North Yorkshire County Council.
The authority has money available through its North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund to provide targeted support to anyone in need.
Neil Irving, Assistant Director, Policy, Partnerships and Communities, said:
We have targeted funds that are available not just to children entitled to free school meals, but to anybody who is suffering financial hardship as a result of the pandemic or anything else. This support is provided through our Local Assistance Fund.
We have extended the fund during the pandemic to enable people to apply for up to three awards of emergency food and/or utility vouchers, and we may review that in future.
Please note that to be able to claim from one of the agencies listed below, you already need to be working with them.
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At the start of the government lockdown measures, the County Council say they recognised the pressures it would create for people, so allocated an extra £1m to the Local Assistance Fund. This has been supplemented by £150,000 from the Government.
In addition, during the government lockdown, the County Council has given more than £200,000 to a variety of food supply charities, including food banks and hot meal delivery services. This money has come from Government funding and individual county councillors’ locality budgets.
A grant of £80,000 has been awarded to the network of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in North Yorkshire to create additional capacity for them to offer advice and support to people who may need help managing their finances or accessing benefits.
During the lockdown, the County Council is also working with 23 local Community Support Organisations (CSOs) based around the county, providing a total of £930,000 to help them to advise on local support for people who are self-isolating and arrange for volunteers to help those that need it to access food and essential items. The CSOs have recently been re-contracted to continue this service until March next year.
People can find details of the Local Assistance Fund, including how to make an application, at www.northyorks.gov.uk/nylaf Alternatively, to find details of food supply charities near them, people can call the County Council’s customer service centre, which currently opens seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm, on 01609 780780.