COVID-19 support for communities

Last updated

17 January 2022

If you, or someone you know in West Suffolk Council are struggling financially at this time, we have access to a number of funds and it may be that we can help.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund (HSF) is a Government funded scheme and is currently available until the end of March 2022.

As well as rent and service charges and furniture costs.  

It cannot, however, be used to help with people’s mortgage payments. If you are experiencing difficulties paying your mortgage, please contact your mortgage provider for further help and advice or the Council’s housing options team.

If you think we might be able to help please call our customer services team on 01284 763233.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) can only be used to help people who are in receipt of Housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. It can be used as a top up for rent shortfall, deposits, rent in advance, to assist people affected by a benefit cap, or as a spare room subsidy.

DHP cannot be used to help pay a mortgage, Council Tax, or gas and electricity costs.

For more on how to apply visit https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/benefits/calculateandapplyforhousingbenefit.cfm

Suffolk Support and Advice Service

Suffolk County Council - Financial Hardship

Suffolk Advice and Support Service (SASS) is a free phoneline and is available to support vulnerable people in our communities (who do not have a network of family or friends to call upon), to access emergency support such as:

  • emergency food and medicine deliveries, if you are self-isolating
  • befriending schemes
  • support with basic care needs
  • debt and money advice

The telephone number is freephone 0800 068 3131 and is staffed from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Local Welfare Assistance Scheme

Suffolk County Council - Financial Hardship

Suffolk Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS) can assist families and individuals who are experiencing financial hardship. Local organisations can submit an application on behalf of the family or individual who can then access support and financial help with:

  • household furniture and white goods
  • fuel vouchers (electricity and gas top-ups)
  • supermarket vouchers, and
  • contributions towards increasing costs during the winter months.

For more information:

Surviving Winter Scheme

Support is available through the Suffolk Community Foundation Surviving Winter Scheme to support those who are in fuel poverty. If you meet the eligibility criteria you will receive a contribution towards your gas/electricity or oil heating costs. T

The process to access support is simple and quick, with eligibility based on the household or individuals circumstances, including:

  • income and savings
  • debt or arrears on an energy bill
  • disabilities and long-term health conditions.

The programme is administered centrally for Suffolk by Ipswich's Citizens Advice. For further information please call the Surviving Winter Helpline on 01473 298634, or apply online through Citizens Advice - Surviving Winter

Funding for community groups

West Suffolk Council already works with many voluntary community sector groups and has part of the Restart programme continues to help community groups restart safely.

Volunteering: We recognise that people want to help the vulnerable in their community and we are here to help. Visit our Volunteering page.

Locality Budgets: We have made additional funding available through our councillor locality budgets and changed some of the rules so that we can get swifter support to some of the community groups emerging to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. You can contact your local councillor to discuss details.

Additional funding is available through the Suffolk Community Restart Fund

You can also contact our Families and Communities Team by emailing families.communities@westsuffolk.gov.uk who can also direct you to other funding sources and guidance.

Community Action Suffolk - Organisation Support has a range of guides, toolkits, and useful information for community groups, from restarting through to financial support.