Individuals in Bournemouth in a crisis have in the past been able to receive funds as part of Local Welfare. The council provided grants and financial assistance to help individuals or families on a low income facing an emergency. Funds were issued for heating and energy bills, food, and other needs, however most of the funding is for addressing any heating bill arrears during the winter.
The Bournemouth Local Welfare Assistance Fund ceased in March 2017. No announcement has been made on whether the fund will be restored in the future or if there will be a successor programme to meet the need.
This is how the fund used to work:
The Bournemouth Borough Council provided either a pre-paid card or cash grant to help people pay for their bills as part of the Local Welfare Assistance Fund. It was created to replace the lack of money coming from the central government and to make up for the reduction in benefits that people have.
- People with arrears on their energy bills could receive a voucher or pre-paid card for those costs. Specialists still provide free advice on other solutions as well, such as entering into a payment plan with your provided.
- Food was provided from Bournemouth Borough Council as part of the welfare fund. This consisted of non-perishable items, and the food bills would be paid for by a pre-paid card.
- Household goods, such as a fridge, personal toiletries, or baby nappies, were provided too, though these were not as common and not a priority.
- For tenants that owe rent arrears, they should call the Council’s Housing Options Team. There may be discretionary housing payments or other aid for rental expenses. The aim is to prevent homelessness in the borough. Call the housing team at 01202 451467, or there are other housing programmes available, and locate other forms of rent assistance.
The key to addressing any crisis is to call the council early, as soon as possible. Council is no longer accepting Local Welfare Assistance Fund applications. If someone needs rent help, then the housing options team will need time to determine any level of support.
Individuals still need to have applied for financial help from other charities or companies first, and any aid would not include cash grants from the local fund since these are no longer being distributed. Help is still available through referrals as long as someone is on a low income, has a local connection, and are over the age of 18. All referrals are provided at the discretion of the council.
Proof of the financial crisis as well as income and savings will need to be provided as part of any referral. Other information needed will be the name of the Landlord, dates of birth of adults in the homes, and any other details the council needed.
Additional support in Bournemouth
People who may have received a grant from the fund in the past will also be provided other support and advice. This will include budgeting information, tips on income maximisation, and other money management advice. They also partner with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (telephone 08444 111444) which can provide more information on assistance available.
The council also partners with other organisations and energy providers that formerly participated in the Local Welfare Assistance Fund. These other local charities may provide free advice, or there is other aid provided such as food from a local church, help with arrears from fuel companies, and much more.
To learn more of apply for help from community providers, the council centre is at St Stephens Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6EB. Or ring them at 01202 451266.