Depending on funding, residents of Bedford Borough that are vulnerable or facing an emergency can get help from the Local Welfare Provision. The aim of the funds or grants is to help those individuals that are facing a one-off crisis, and the council can offer support to families that are found eligible for aid. More details on the elements of the programme are below, however applicants may receive Home in the Community or Crisis Grants from the scheme.
Any assistance awarded from the council is discretionary, and it will come with restrictions. This is one of the main reasons the council will provide a voucher say for a food bank in lieu of cash, as the government needs to ensure any support is used properly. If someone is denied a grant, then other forms of support may be arranged.
Types of grants from welfare
People facing a health or safety issue can apply for Crisis Grants, provided they meet the eligibility conditions from the council. The uses of the funds are below, but applicants will normally be provided £200 to £500, as funding allows. In many cases, the funds will be issued using tokens or vouchers that are redeemable with landlords or other companies.
- Fuel bill arrears can be addressed, if the Bedford family would otherwise be going cold during the winter.
- Low income residents or children going hungry can get vouchers for a food parcel, tokens to pay for goods for a child or infant, nappies, and more. This can help solve a health crisis.
- Basic needs such as clothing, sanitary, shoes, or health care items can be bought from the Local Welfare scheme, including for children.
- Financial aid can be addressed for solving an immediate and serious risk to the safety or health of the applicant or a dependent child.
- Items that were damaged by a disaster, such as a fire, can be bought as a replacement.
Since the Bedford Council provides funds at its own discretion, there may be help for any other bills that the council decides. In some cases, there may be payments for rent arrears or a guarantee on deposits, if the landlord agrees to participate. This would be to prevent homelessness for children or older people with a connection to Bedford. Others uses of the crisis grants can be for travelling expenses caused by illness or death.
The other element of the welfare scheme in Bedford is the Home in the Community Grants, and this are aimed at helping vulnerable people remain independent. Applicants also need to be on some type of government benefit, such as Income Support or others. Funds can help people move into independent living, as noted below, and this can include for deposits as well.
These types of grants can be provided for women fleeing domestic violence, elderly people leaving long term care or families facing an exception financial pressure, such as eviction. There is also council support for those that need to stay in the local area, as the aim of Community Grants is to help people remain living independent in the community.
The Community Care scheme may issue vouchers, or the provision of the items themselves, can help the household obtain items needed for the home, such as furniture or kitchen supplies. Other goods considered for basic living can be pots and pans, beds, cooking items, heating appliances, and items such as that. In rare cases, the Bedford Council Local Welfare grants will pay for home repairs, if there is a safety issue.
Signposting is another resources provided from the Bedford Council. Not only is this for people that were refused a grant from the scheme above, but the council will even help other residents. There is support for those facing poverty and that live on a low income, and they can get information on local charities or programmes that can assist them.
For more information on any of these grants or other programmes, please call the council at (01234) 718033.