Published: Wednesday, 26th August 2020

Medway residents who are facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic might be eligible for support.

We have been awarded a one-off payment through the government’s Emergency Assistance Grant to provide residents, who are struggling financially, with food and other essential items they need, such as a fridge, bed and support with gas and electricity.

Those who meet the eligibility criteria will be provided with the essential items they need.

The emergency grant applies to: 

  • Low income individuals or families struggling to afford food and other essential items due to the pandemic. For example, due to loss of income or low income, including families receiving Summer Food Vouchers.
  • People fleeing domestic violence.
  • People leaving institutional (prison), residential care or hospital to establish themselves in the community. 
  • Homeless people or people moving from temporary accommodation and do not have the means to fund the items required when moving into their own property. 
  • Applicants with no recourse to public funds, regardless of immigration status, if there is genuine need. For example, serious health problems a risk to a child’s wellbeing.

Citizens Advice Medway is managing the grant on behalf of us and providing the essential items to residents most in need, as part of its existing contract through the Local Welfare Provision scheme. 

This service provides independent and impartial information, advice and guidance on a range of issues, such as housing, debt and benefits. The service aims to prevent welfare concerns developing into more serious issues for the council and health services.

Supporting Medway's most vulnerable residents

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time for many residents and has put an additional financial strain on some. Our priority remains to support Medway’s most vulnerable residents and I am pleased additional support is in place to help those most in need and struggling to buy food and other essential items. I would encourage residents who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the current coronavirus pandemic and meet the criteria to apply to Citizens Advice Medway for the support available through the Emergency Assistance Grant.

“We are committed to supporting those most in need and will continue to lobby government for funding to help both Medway’s residents and businesses which are facing financial difficulties.”

Assisting residents who are in crisis

Citizens Advice Medway CEO, Dan McDonald, said: “We have worked very closely with the council throughout the pandemic and assisted thousands of residents. The ‘burgeoning coronavirus debt crisis’ has had serious consequences for those behind on bills. Around a fifth of those impacted have had to go without essentials – half of these people have gone without food. And one in five have had to sell possessions to make ends meet during the pandemic. 

“Many families that we see are in insecure employment and have lost income during the lockdown, they’re telling us that their household expenses have increased as they stay at home to reduce the spread of Covid-19 during this challenging time and beyond.

“Medway Council has worked tirelessly to ensure our residents are fully supported and we will certainly do all we can to help them and assist as many residents as possible who are in crisis during the next critical stage of recovery.”

Help is available

Organisations in Medway are encouraged to signpost vulnerable residents who are struggling to afford food and other essential items due to COVID-19 to Citizens Advice Medway's Local Welfare Provision to ensure they receive the right support at the right time.

Citizens Advice Medway can be contacted by phoning 01634 383760, emailing LWP@medwayadvice.org.uk or visiting the Citizens Advice Medway website

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