4 May 2020

Covid-19 Emergency Living Fund set up to help people in financial hardship

The county council has extended its existing Welfare Support Scheme to create a new Emergency Living Fund to help people who are in financial hardship because of the coronavirus.

The council has also increased the funding that is available to support people through the covid-19 pandemic by almost 40 percent, and has also changed the criteria so more people will be able to apply.

The Welfare Support Scheme already provides practical support to those in financial hardship for things like food deliveries, rent, gas and electricity top-ups, and essential household items such as furniture and white goods.

The new fund will offer more help, and now covers the replacement of white goods that have broken down, supermarket vouchers and cash when necessary.

You can apply for help if:

  • You are a Gloucestershire resident over the age of 16 and you are classed as being in a vulnerable group, for example, you have a history of mental illness or you need support to avoid uncontrollable debt; and
  • You are either on a low income or receive benefits; or you are on a low income or are newly unemployed and you are waiting for a benefit claim.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “In times of crisis, it is often the most disadvantaged people who are worst affected. We are putting in place an additional safety net for our most vulnerable residents who have been affected by covid-19 to support them through this difficult time.”

The Covid-19 Emergency Living Fund launched on Monday 4 May and applications for help will be reviewed within 24 hours, with people who are approved for support getting the help they need another 24 hours after that.*

In addition to this, another specialist support scheme for vulnerable children and families has also been extended. Previously only social workers could refer children and families for support but this has also been changed so now any professional can refer them for help.

For more information on who can receive support and how to apply or refer someone, visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/covid-19-emergency-living-fund

*For white goods, the timescale is up to 10 days and is subject to suppliers’ availability.

For help or advice if you live in the Rodborough are please click on the ‘Rodborough’ link below:

Advice for those with prepay gas and electric meters

Those at home self isolating may be worried about going out and being able to top up their meters and could be using more power than normal because they are home. If people can they should ask friends and family to help, but some may not be able to.

 If you contact the numbers below, the supplier will send 2 weeks of power to you or similar.

 BRITISH GAS  If you’re unable to do this, and you haven’t got anyone to help you, please call 0330 100 0303 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm and we’ll help you.

 EDF  Call 0330 200 5110 We also operate a friendly, non-disconnection policy on most meters. So if you run out of credit after 6pm your electricity will not go off until 9am the next day. This operates from 6pm to 9am Monday to Friday, 6pm on Saturday and any time on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, until 9am the next day

 EON If your meter falls below 50p of emergency credit for electricity, or if you’re off supply for gas, you need to contact us and we will send an engineer to your home. It’s important to remember that any credit we issue will need to be repaid in order to reinstate customers’ energy supply.  0345 052 000

•        For electricity customers, where the meter is outside your property, we’ll put enough credit on the meter to ensure you remain on-supply throughout your self-isolation period.

•        Where the meter is inside, we’ll leave a meter key at your doorstep, make contact with you, and check the key works before leaving the property.

•        For gas customers, where the meter is outside, we’ll supply a maximum of £5 credit (this an industry restriction) and will also send a card in the post containing extra credit.

•        Where the meter is inside, we’ll still attend the property and supply a maximum of £5 credit and send a card in the post with additional credit

N POWER  Call 0800 073 3000  No further details on the website.

 SCOTTISH POWER  Please call us on 0800 027 0072.

 SSE  call us on 0345 600 2006 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm) so we can work out how to help. Our call centre might be busier than usual, but bear with us. Once you’re through we’ll review your individual situation and talk you through the options.

This isn’t all suppliers but it’s the main big ones. The others should have something similar in place as Ofgen have said they should.