£2.6m fund to help most vulnerable cope with cost-of-living crisis

Price of living on the rise. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Islington Council has announced a £2.6million fund to help people struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A £2.6million fund will help Islington families and households struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

Islington Council says the support scheme is for schoolchildren who are eligible for free school meals (FSM), the most vulnerable pensioners, care leavers living independently for the first time and thousands of the poorest families.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: "The cost-of-living crisis is a huge concern for our residents and is already putting huge pressures on household budgets, with even more steep price rises looking inevitable.

"We are determined to do everything we can to help our most vulnerable households to cope, continue to put food on the table and pay the bills – it is our duty, as we work towards creating a more equal borough.

"As we look ahead to the autumn and winter, we must avoid a situation where our most vulnerable residents – struggling families, our poorest pensioners, care leavers finding their feet – are forced to choose between heating and eating."

The council says roughly half of the £2.6million fund will be used to address holiday hunger, ensuring children entitled to FSM get healthy lunches through the half-term break and summer holidays.

These families will be given a £15 voucher for each child per week.

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Around a third of the fund will be spent supporting more than 7,000 low-income pensioners who receive council tax support, with each household receiving £110.

The remainder - almost £500,000 - will help more than 4,500 of the borough’s poorest households and care leavers aged 25 or under.

They will receive £100 awards, which is equivalent to one week’s worth of essential purchases for the average household.

Those who face the most exceptional housing costs will also be supported, Islington Council said.

Cllr Ward added: "We designed this scheme to provide genuine and meaningful help to those who need it most."

Support payments will be made automatically to qualifying households, so residents do not need to take action.

Payments have already started to be made and will continue through to the end of September, according to the council.

The scheme, which is in addition to existing crisis support, follows a discretionary council tax rebate that will help more than 26,500 households by the end of August.

The funding for the new scheme includes a £2.22million government grant.