COVID-19 Hardship Fund Set To Be Used To Help Vulnerable Residents In Barrow

Grant funding of £250,000 could be set aside to help vulnerable children, young people and residents across Barrow who have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is proposed the money is used to provide a summer school holiday programme across the borough as well as to cover one-off exceptional circumstances such as funeral costs, fuel bills, urgent travel or household essentials such as white goods.

The sum would be drawn from Barrow Borough Council’s COVID-19 Hardship Fund and used to support the needs identified by the Barrow Community Local Resilience Forum.

The proposal will be discussed by members of the authority’s executive committee on Wednesday, July 8.

Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “We know residents across the borough are experiencing some very difficult times financially and that this impacts upon children and young people in this area.

“With the school summer holidays ahead, this is a real concern.

“This money can help provide vital support for people in the weeks and months ahead – making sure families have access to food and support for children when normal provision is likely to be reduced or not there at all.

“It could also be used to provide financial help for people facing exceptional circumstances where we know even a small amount can make a big difference.”

This summer, the school holidays could place additional pressure on families across the borough with limited childcare available from family and friends as a result of the pandemic.

There are also likely to be fewer organised clubs and activities available to boost children’s confidence, engagement and learning and to reduce the effects of loneliness before September.

Money from the Covid-19 Hardship Fund would be used to help address these issues.

In addition, the organisations providing direct support may be able to provide financial help on a case by case basis to residents facing funeral expenses, fuel bills, telephone or WiFi costs, transport for exceptional circumstances or the purchase of white goods or other essentials.

Cllr Thomson added: “The economic impact of coronavirus is already being felt across Barrow, as it is in many other towns and cities across the country.

“We need to use this funding to help as many people as we can after our communities have been through such an unprecedented time.”

The COVID-19 Hardship Fund contains £798,140 and must be used to support the economically vulnerable in the borough.

The remainder – £548,000 – is being used to provide council tax relief to residents, of which £206,000 has already been allocated.