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New vouchers will help people with winter essentials

Help is at hand this winter for people who may struggle to pay for heating, food or other essentials – thanks to a new voucher scheme that has launched in South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse.

The new, targeted programme set up by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils will help people with their food, energy and water bills and other household essentials.

The funding to pay for the voucher scheme is part of a £3.4 million package of support allocated to Oxfordshire County Council from the government’s Household Support Fund. South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse and the other district and city councils are working in partnership with the voluntary and community sector to make best use of the funding and get the right help to those who need it.  

People in both South Oxfordshire and the Vale can get in touch with Citizens Advice for more information or to apply.  In the Vale, the voluntary organisation Vale Community Impact are also ready to help people with vouchers. The county council also is providing support for children and young people eligible for free school meals from the same government fund.

To find out about the scheme or seek help:

  • Residents can call Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7907
  • Vale of the White Horse residents can also call Vale Community Impact on 01235 765 348

Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Asking for help can be difficult – especially for those who have suddenly found themselves struggling financially, which can be for so many different reasons.

“Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you find yourself in financial difficulty this winter or struggling at all to afford household bills. Winter can be a particularly difficult time with heating costs and other essentials adding up, so the vouchers are in place to help relieve financial pressure and take away the worry that it can cause.”

Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “The effects of the pandemic are ongoing for many residents, so it’s essential we offer help for those who are struggling with every-day costs. Paying for things like energy bills or for warm clothes can cause extra financial pressure over the cold winter months – the vouchers will help those who may find it hard to afford essential things.

“We don’t want anyone to be worrying about how they can afford to keep their home warm or pay for their food shopping this winter. We encourage people to reach out for assistance – we are here to help.”

The scheme will end in March 2022, unless funds are spent sooner.

a helping hand this winter