Extra £5.3 million to support Barnsley people with the cost of living – message from Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council

News and information about the cost of living crisis are inescapable – it’s been the main topic of many news channels for some time now. 

Tackling poverty and addressing the related inequalities is not new for us as a council; however, the scale of the current crisis is extraordinary.   

We have a borough-wide commitment with our partners to support people and businesses through this period of uncertainty and to continue to provide help to people who need it most. We’ve really seen Barnsley pull together over the last two years, and we hope that this will continue. 

As a council, we have our own financial challenges with increases in fuel bills, goods, and services. We know people need support, but the council hasn’t got the money to fund all the things that people need.  

What we can do is can maximise the impact of the help we can provide, helping you get the financial support, information and advice and supporting community initiatives into action.  
That’s why we’re making sure that the funding made available from the government is getting to you, as well as looking at how we can use our own resources to support people. 
Starting over the next six months, we’ll be making sure £5.3 million gets to the people who need it the most.  

We’re proposing to spend £3 million of our own money from council reserves to expand the affordable warmth scheme, providing a three-year, sustainable programme with new boilers and upgraded insulation for people who qualify. 

We have a £2.3 million discretionary Household Support Grant from the Department for Work and Pensions which we’ll use to help support our communities: 

  • Support to residents:  £500,000 grants via community groups, aimed at people in most need, to help with essential household spending such as food, fuel, clothing, and white goods. 
  • Christmas holiday clubs:  £60,000 to extend the Healthy Activities Fund, so it’s available to children who are not eligible for a free school meal. 
  • Local welfare assistance:  £64,000 top-up funding to extend this scheme to March 2023, providing crisis support with the cost of essential bills and white goods. 
  • Free school meals:  £15 voucher to support families with the cost of food during the October and February half-terms. 
  • Affordable warmer homes:  £380,000 contribution to the scheme. 

Some £960,000 of this grant has been allocated to provide direct cash support to people who have not been able to access other government funding: 

  • Energy Rebate Scheme:  £150 discretionary payment to households not entitled to the government council tax scheme who became eligible for council tax after 1 April or can demonstrate financial hardship. 
  • Cost of Living payment 1a:  £326 payment to people who became eligible for qualifying benefits between 26 May and 31 August. 
  • Cost of Living payment 1b:  £150 payment to people in receipt of a disability benefit between 26 May and 31 August. 
  • Cost of Living payment 2:  £650 Post Office voucher paid in two instalments (Oct and Jan) to people receiving Housing Benefit. 

This funding is on top of the £19 million Barnsley people have already received since April 2022 via the government: 

  • £15 million in £150 Council Tax rebate for people in bands A-D – (90% of Barnsley households). 
  • £562,000 Discretionary Council Tax rebate - paid out in £150 Post Office vouchers, supporting 23,175 of our households. 
  • £2 million Household Support Grant - paid out in £150 Post Office vouchers supporting 11,208 households. 
  • £318,000 Household Support Grant paid to community groups to support various initiatives, supporting 8,557 households. 
  • £1 million healthy activity and food programme to support children and families who access free school meals during non-term time. 

More Money in Your Pocket – your information hub 

Our More Money in Your Pocket webpage provides a whole host of information on getting help with the rising cost of living. You’ll find information and advice about free or discounted support from many other websites, so you can find out how you could save money or get help in the areas below. 

Welcoming Spaces in Barnsley 

Our warm, welcoming and inviting spaces are here for you. Come along on your own, with a friend, or with your family to meet in a warm, safe, and friendly place. 

Welcoming Spaces:  

  • Our 15 libraries across Barnsley, including the Archives and Local Studies section of the Town Hall Discovery Centre. 
  • Our five Barnsley Museum sites across Barnsley. 
  • Our six family centres are offering free tea-time sessions on various days between 3:30pm - 7pm. Call 0800 0345 340 or visit the family information service website.
  • From 1 November, Berneslai Homes will have five available locations for anyone to make use of. We'll publicise these soon. 
  • From 31 October, Barnsley College’s Old Mill Lane site (Big Red) is open to students and staff on Monday to Thursday evenings until 9pm. 

There are also lots of activities happening which you can take part in. Ask at your local library or museum or visit barnsley.gov.uk/libraries and barnsley-museums.com  

We’re working with our partners to get more warm and welcoming spaces open across the borough. You can find the most up-to-date list on our More Money in Your Pocket webpage. 

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