Community and voluntary organisations, as well as town, parish and community councils, are being urged to apply for grants to help ease the cost-of-living in their local area.
A total of £500,000 has been made available by the Isle of Wight Council to distribute to local projects and initiatives supporting residents in food and energy poverty, supported by the Department for Work and Pensions Household Support Fund.
The first round of applications is now open and closes on 7 July. Further application windows will open this autumn and in spring 2024.
The rising cost of living is a challenge for many people, but it is especially difficult for low-income families with children, as well as pensioners, who might be struggling with food and utility bills.
Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I’m glad we can offer funding to organisations who are helping families and individuals experiencing financial hardship.
“We recognise the invaluable role that local organisations play in enhancing the quality of life for residents, and we are committed to providing them with the necessary resources to make a meaningful difference where the cost-of-living increases have hit the hardest.
“Whether supporting individual neighbourhoods or specific sets of vulnerable people, these groups understand the problems their communities face and the type of projects that could help deliver solutions — we’re very much looking forward to receiving some innovative and sustainable new ideas and proposals from all corners of the Island.
“I would like to urge voluntary, faith, charity and community groups across the Island to apply for a community grant and help to make a positive difference to the lives of local people.”
More than 60 organisations have received community grants from the Household Support Fund in the past year, supporting a wide range of projects.
These range from West Wight Timebank who have been funded to provide weekly food hampers to vulnerable households in the West Wight, to The Footprint Trust who provided families in need with cookery lessons to demonstrate cooking with energy efficient kitchen appliances, the supply of the appliance and a food hamper.
In addition to the grants, the council is using the funding to develop a suite of supportive measures that aim to help residents who are struggling financially.
Organisations wishing to find out more should go to the connect4communities website, which covers both the Household Support Fund and the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme.
For further information about additional support available on the Island, visit the council’s cost of living web pages: www.iow.gov.uk/keep-the-island-safe/cost-of-living/