The Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme helps our most vulnerable residents at times of unavoidable crisis when they have no other means of help.

Support to help families and individuals struggling financially

Central Government has provided councils with one-off funding (Household Support Fund) for the period 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 to support vulnerable families with children, other vulnerable households and individuals to ensure that they have the support they need to afford food, energy, water bills and associated costs as the country continues its recovery from the pandemic.

The Local Welfare Scheme is responsible for distributing this funding to families and individuals in need.

Priority support is offered to families with children eligible for benefits related free school meals during school holidays as it is recognised that some families who are struggling financially have difficulty covering these periods. The eligibility criterion for this offer is that parents are registered for free school meals (not universal FSM).

For the Christmas and February half term school holiday, this support will be in the form of a supermarket voucher from voucher supplier Huggg. Vouchers will be issued automatically and there will be no need to apply.

  • If you are eligible for support and have questions about accessing and redeeming your supermarket voucher please go to the Huggg - FAQs Guide (PDF, 1.2 MB)
  • If your question is related to your supermarket voucher, please use the contact details provided on the voucher itself or in the Applying section of this guide.
  • If your question was not answered in the guide you can contact Huggg using the Chat facility on the Huggg website.

We know that sudden unexpected costs can create real challenges for our residents who are experiencing financial hardship. The Household Support Fund is available to provide short-term financial support to meet immediate needs and help those who are struggling to afford the essentials this winter.

Due to the limited amount of funds we have available, we will prioritise items necessary for day to day living such as food, energy and water.

We recognise that we cannot predict every challenge that residents may face, so we will be accepting applications for other essential types of support which cannot be budgeted for and which deliver on the aims of this scheme. These items will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Who is eligible?

Our eligibility criteria balances supporting as many residents as we can with targeting our limited funds to support those who need our help the most.

  • you must be a legal resident in the UK
  • aged 16 or over
  • have no other access to funds or enough resources to pay for food or energy
  • your situation poses a serious health or safety risk to you or your immediate family
  • you have been a resident of Warwickshire for the last six months or three of the last five years
  • if you are a member of the armed forces and do not meet residency criteria, you should demonstrate a strong connection to Warwickshire

Who is not eligible?

  • someone in hospital, or a care home unless their discharge is imminent
  • someone subject to immigration control by virtue of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • applicants or their immediate family who have received four awards for food and energy within a 12-month period
  • applicants or their immediate family who have received an award for household goods or clothing
  • prisoners and people lawfully detained
  • someone from abroad who fails or would fail the habitual residence test for the purpose of welfare benefits

How will payments be made?

If you have been awarded a payment, we will normally provide vouchers.

All awards from the fund will be made as quickly as possible to meet the agreed needs of the household. We also reserve the right to provide ‘in-kind’ support where this is appropriate. 

What information will I need to provide? 

In order to assess the household needs and priorities, the council will require you to provide some information. This may include details of who is living within the household, the household income, any savings held by household members, and of the circumstances and reasons that led to an application being made. We will also need some practical information, such as your National Insurance number and contact details.

Our customer service advisors will also consider all the information at their disposal to assess the risk faced by the applicant and the relative priority of their application including:

  • Financial circumstances
  • Access to other forms of financial support
  • Circumstances and reasons for the claim
  • Preventative measures taken by the applicant or partner
  • Impact of making or not making of the award
  • The budgetary situation of the fund

Reviewing unsuccessful applications

The scheme is discretionary and there are no appeal rights to an Independent Tribunal, but you can ask us to look at your case again within 5 days of our decision if you are not happy with the outcome of your application. Requests for a review of our decision need to be made in writing. It must state the reasons why you are asking for a review of the decision and be signed and dated.

You will be notified of the review decision within 14 days of your request. This decision will be final.

How often can I apply?

In exceptional circumstances repeat applications will be considered on merit. In the case of repeat applications further work and referrals to other agencies will be discussed with the applicant and may be conditional on having further financial support (e.g., referrals to Citizens Advice)

In line with the principles of good administration, all applications will be treated fairly and consistently. Applications will be processed in a timely manner.

We will monitor this scheme on an ongoing basis. We will regularly review the scheme to ensure that we are making the best use of the money we have available.

Fraud

The council is committed to tackling and preventing fraud in all its forms. If a claimant attempts to claim an award from the Household Support Fund by making a false declaration or providing false evidence or statements, they may have committed an offence under the Theft Act 1968. Where the Council suspects that fraud may have occurred it will investigate the matter as appropriate, and this may lead to criminal proceedings.

Other support available under the Scheme

The Local Welfare Scheme also provides support towards food, energy or other essentials. This is given either in vouchers, emergency food parcels or with credit for energy.

In addition, the Scheme offers help to those whose needs are more long-term, who are vulnerable through an ongoing set of circumstances rather than an immediate crisis. 

This includes: 

  • care leavers
  • victims of domestic abuse
  • former armed forces personnel
  • those resettling in a community after a custodial term

This help may take the form of furnishing accommodation with basic furniture and appliances. 

The Local Welfare Scheme will also direct customers to other agencies and organisations who can offer help and support. 

Applying

Please call one of our helpful advisors. They will ask questions about your circumstances that you must answer honestly, and they will also signpost you to other agencies and organisations who can offer help and support.  

To enquire or to apply for support, call the Local Welfare Scheme on 0800 408 1448 or 01926 359182. 

Opening Hours

  • Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm
  • Friday from 9am to 4.30pm