Sefton Council is continuing to support some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents by earmarking more than half-a-million pounds to help them.
Despite a continued reduction in support from the Government, the council has committed £500,000 to its welfare support scheme. The scheme was established to provide support for vulnerable, low-income families hit by unexpected financial crises, domestic emergencies and the impact of welfare reform.
This funding will be monitored closely and may be re-evaluated if the demand for services exceeds the current budget.
The council has committed to continue to fund the administration of its local welfare services to ensure that those who need support are able to access it when support is needed. Financial resources will also be used to support Sefton’s helping hand service which manages the provision of essential household items.
South Sefton and Southport foodbanks will also benefit from a tranche of the funding which will help the services to maintain the necessary levels of food and other items in response to referrals from the council’s local welfare scheme. In addition, a significant portion of the budget will help to support the provision of gas and electricity awards to applicants.
Without this funding, many people across Sefton would not have access to vital hardship support, forcing them to go without or faced with no option but to take out high cost loans to pay for basics such as food, energy or furniture.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s telling that due to the Government’s austerity measures we are seeing an increase in residents who need additional welfare support. It is clear that food bank usage is growing and more and more people, including those who are in work, are finding it difficult to support themselves as a result of welfare reform.
“The Council has rightly set aside a significant budget to help keep essential welfare services running, but the hard truth is that even this extra financial support may not be enough for these vital services to meet the increased demand.”
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, added: “It is a shame that in 2018 we are still seeing so many Sefton residents who are finding themselves impacted by welfare reform and facing poverty.
“Government cuts have meant that services that provide support to vulnerable people are finding themselves at breaking point and local charities are finding it increasingly difficult to cope and offer support.
“It is so important for the council to ensure that its local communities are able to receive the support they need when they are experiencing severe financial hardship. We are doing all we can when sadly we know more needs to be done.”