With the aim of helping residents in Somerset County in poverty and threatened by a crisis, the Local Assistance Scheme can help families and individuals provide the essentials they need for their household. The programme is available in all areas and boroughs, including Taunton and Yeovil among others. There can be a combination of funds and grants used by the council to help with bills such as clothing, winter gas costs, and food.
The council partners with organisations such as the Somerset Advice Bureau to ensure funds are provided to the needy that are found eligible. Information can be obtained there, and another office to drop in at for an application to the scheme is the Citizens Advice Bureau. The main centres to call on for more information are below, and families should call them.
If an application has been awarded, the Local Assistance Scheme offers a voucher or pre-paid card to help the client. There is no cash provided, however the CAB centre in a local district may be able to refer an applicant to a local credit union for lower interest loans, if they sign up as a member.
- Families facing hunger in Somerset County can be given a voucher for a free food parcel or groceries.
- Items and equipment can be offered, and this will be bedding, furniture, or cooking equipment.
- Winter heating bills and electricity costs can be paid from the scheme using a pre-paid card, and the aim is to keep people, elderly, and children warm.
Any aid from the council is for people facing a one off emergency that have no other programmes or charities that can help them. Local assistance is limited, and depends of government funds being paid to the council each year. Many applications are refused and those people are referred to other solutions, such as charities in Taunton or other districts.
Also, the scheme is only for residents on a low income and that do not have any money and seeked help from other charities first. So people need to have looked into a budgeting loan, help from their friend or family or short term benefits advances before applying to the local scheme.
Where to apply for the Somerset scheme
The main offices to apply at are here. In order to receive help for bills, food and other expenses, individuals should come prepared with proof of need and documentation.
- Sussex Lodge, 44 Station Road, Taunton, TA1 1NS, call 01823 282235.
- Residents of Mendip can call their CAB. The address is 9 Market Place, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5AZ, telephone 01749 345394.
- Sedgemoor Citizens Advice Bureau is at The Lions, West Quay, Bridgwater, TA6 3HW, 01278 455236.
- South Somerset – 40 – 42 Hendford, Yeovil, BA20 1UW, call 01935 421167.
- West Somerset low income families have their CAB at Market House Lane, Minehead, TA24 5NW, telephone 01643 704624.
When applying for help, the Citizens Advice Bureau will need to share the information with the county council as they partner together on the assessment process. Applicants need to have proof of hardship, their income, identity, and address, which needs to show a local connection to Somerset.