VULNERABLE people across Worcestershire are to reap the benefits of a £947,000 pot of taxpayers’ money.
The cash kitty, which will be managed by district councils, will offer help to people in desperate need of support.
Until now the Department for Work and Pensions has offered a discretionary scheme where vulnerable people may get a loan or community care grant to meet an “immediate short-term need” such as heating, home repairs or help for a funeral payment.
The funding is being scrapped in April and instead, each county will get a lump sum to dish out to local people in need.
Worcestershire has been handed £947,000 for each of the next two years, which will be split between district councils to hand out. The cash comes with guidance that it must provide “flexible help to those in genuine need”, and can include grants, vouchers or loans.
It must “target the most vulnerable” residents in need of “immediate support”, but the end criteria is up to councils.
Worcester City Council will get £445,000 of the fund and also be responsible for giving help to people in neighbouring Wychavon and Malvern.
A special panel is being created which will come up with a criteria for people eligible for assistance in time for the April launch. The rest of the money will be split in smaller amounts to town halls in Wyre Forest, Redditch and Bromsgrove.
A report on it says each area will have “total independence” on how the cash is dished out, whether it be hardship funds, food voucher schemes, housing repairs or anything else deemed to help the most vulnerable.
It has been backed by County Hall’s Conservative cabinet. Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader, said: “It’s good we can delegate this responsibility down to the districts. I think it’s something we can all agree on.”