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cost living DorsetVulnerable people in the Dorset Council area can now apply for new support to help with rising costs.

Applications are being taken from Monday 6 June from pensioners and working age people in receipt of qualifying benefits or in fuel poverty.

The council has been awarded the funding from central government’s Household Support Fund to provide short-term financial assistance.

The support will be via supermarket vouchers.

Vouchers will be issued to residents in the Dorset Council area with savings of less than £10,000 who meet the following criteria:

  • Pensioner in receipt of Pension Credit;
  • Working age and in receipt of a means-tested benefit*; or
  • A pensioner or working age resident not in receipt of a means tested benefit who is in fuel poverty**.

Vouchers will also be provided during the school holidays to families in receipt of free school meals.

Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said:  ‘The Household Support Fund is there to help those who need it most.

‘There is a simple online application form, and if you have any difficulties completing it, or do not use the internet, our library-based volunteer Digital Champions can assist you. Your local Citizens Advice office will also be able to help you.

‘If you are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, there is a range of support available for you, so please act now.’

Apply for support at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/household-support-fund.

Residents will need their most recent bank statements, proof of benefits (if applicable), energy bill (if applicable) and identification.

The website also explains how to nominate a family member or friend if assistance is needed or if the applicant does not have an email address.

Alternatively, applicants can get help to complete their form from a Dorset volunteer Digital Champion at their local library. To book an appointment, telephone 01305 221048 (Monday to Friday, 10am to midday). See Digital Champion venue opening times at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/getting-online.

Local Citizens Advice offices are also offering assistance. See opening times and locations at citizensadvicedorset.org.uk or call customer services at Dorset Council on 01305 221000 for opening times.

Food vouchers during the holidays

In line with previous school holidays, families of children who receive free school meals during term time will be provided with food vouchers over the summer holiday. These are funded by the Household Support Fund, and Dorset schools will share information about the vouchers direct with the families who receive free school meals.

If you do not claim free school meals for your child but think you might qualify, please apply by completing the online form. You can also apply for free activities for your child during the summer holidays.

Check if your child can receive free school meals at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/free-school-meals

Other support

Find out what other support, including council tax support, housing benefit and universal credit, is available at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/benefits.

See where you can access food at local foodbanks, community fridges and social supermarkets at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/access-to-food.

Dorset Council has been awarded £2,294,941 from the Government’s Household Support Fund for the period June to October 2022.

*Means tested benefits are Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Rebate, Income-related ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), Income Support, Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.
**Fuel poverty is defined as spending 10% of household income on energy costs

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