“We are here to help you” – KCC Leader to update Cabinet on multi-million pound scheme to support Kent residents

The many and varied ways in which Kent residents have been supported throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, including through the £10m Helping Hands scheme, will be discussed at a meeting tomorrow.

A report being brought before Kent County Council’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday (October 28) morning will allow Cabinet Members and members of the public to hear about the different ways the council has helped residents and businesses during the pandemic so far, as well as finding out what plans are in place to continue supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the county for the next 12 to 18 months.

Kent County Council Leader Roger Gough

Kent County Council Leader Roger Gough said: “As a council we have always supported our residents and the county’s businesses, but we know that since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic an increasing number of people and companies have started to struggle when they may not have done previously. For others, their situations have worsened as a direct result of these unprecedented times.

“I am very pleased that, by working with our partners across the county, we have been able to put a number of measures in place to support some of our most vulnerable residents as well as businesses and self-employed individuals.

“I am pleased to say that this half term we have again utilised government funding to provide food vouchers for Kent families whose children are entitled to benefits-related Free School Meals.

“No one should struggle to provide for themselves or their family, or keep their businesses afloat, and I would urge anyone who feels they are in need of support to get in touch. We are here to help you, we want to help you, so please do get in touch.”

The four categories of spend and the proposed allocations of the Helping Hands Scheme are as follows:

  1. a) £4m to support low-income households and households in financial distress, including through council services such as the Kent Support and Assistance Service, district and borough councils, voluntary and community sector organisations, such as Kent Community Foundation and utility companies such as South East Water.
  2. b) £3m to provide a range of support for businesses and the self-employed not in receipt of government funding, including through council services, district and borough councils, voluntary and community sector organisations, and business support organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
  3. c) £2.5m to tackle digital poverty, working with schools and colleges, district and borough councils and voluntary and community sector organisations.
  4. d) £500k to match-fund crowdfunded community projects and initiatives that support local communities in responding to and recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

The Helping Hands Scheme, launched in February 2021, is just one way in which  KCC, along with its partners, has been supporting residents and businesses most impacted by the pandemic.

Other avenues of support due to be discussed at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting include Winter Grant Fund, Covid Local Support Grant, Household Support Grant, and Covid-19 Emergency Grant. Cabinet Members will be asked to comment on the activity to date and review plans for the future.

Read the report and watch the Cabinet meeting live from 10am tomorrow (Thursday, October 28) here: https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=115&MId=8892

If you are vulnerable and have an urgent need that cannot be met through existing support networks, you can contact the Kent Together helpline at www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether or by calling on 03000 41 92 92. It is a 24-hour service.

… Ends…

Notes to journalists

Projects funded by KCC’s COVID emergency funding since March 2020 include:

  • Funding a Business Recovery Helpline – run by Kent and Medway Growth Hub on behalf of KCC and local authorities, the helpline received over 18 thousand phone calls and advised more than 5 thousand people via its webchat option since it was set up last March. As well as guidance on Business Rate Relief Grants, businesses have also sought dedicated COVID mentoring to help navigate this challenging period.
  • Expanding the Kent Toys scheme– to enable parents of all eligible disabled children and young people to apply for toys or equipment up to the value of £250 per child to support their complex needs while isolating. Previously the scheme only covered children prevented from receiving short breaks because of COVID restrictions. The project recognises that some children and young people suffer severe frustration and anxiety when their routines are disrupted, and their disabilities make it hard to understand why things have changed.
  • Supporting remote digital learning – by providing digital bundles, including e-books and courses, to those in need.
  • Extending winter grants– for voluntary organisations.
  • Providing food packages– for the clinically extremely vulnerable, and
  • Supporting key service providers – by making continuity payments to early years’ providers, school and public transport providers to ensure they remain in business and ready to run once restrictions are eased.
“We are here to help you” – KCC Leader to update Cabinet on multi-million pound scheme to support Kent residents was last modified: October 27th, 2021 by Ellis Stephenson