Devon County Council has received additional funding to help households weather the rising costs of living, to help pay for food, energy and other essential items.

This is the third tranche of the government's Household Support Fund that the County Council has received.

The latest bid amounts to a little over £5 million and should cover the winter period through to Easter 2023. It will take Devon’s total level of Household Support Funding received so far to just over £15 million.

The funding is to support households in most need that are struggling to pay for food, energy, water bills and other related essentials. And specifically, those households that may not be eligible for other support that is already available from the government.

The County Council has to submit plans by the end of this month to the Department of Work and Pensions, setting out how it, with Devon's eight district/city councils and other voluntary and community partners will make the latest funding available.

Plans are expected to include a funding allocation to specifically support families in receipt of Free School Meals, to provide food vouchers that can be exchanged at supermarkets to buy food during school holidays. Nearly 20,000 children in Devon were eligible for free school meal vouchers during the last summer holidays Some funding will also go to provide financial support for food and other essentials to eligible low income households with children and young people Devon’s district/city councils will plan to continue helping households that are in greatest financial need and struggling to pay for food, energy and other related essentials. They will publicise further details soon, once plans have been finalised.

Citizens Advice Devon will continue to receive funding to support households that are using pre-payment meters, to help with energy costs.

Working with the Cosy Devon Sustainable Warmth project, the fund will also be used to pilot a scheme to provide minor but rapid energy efficiency improvements to the homes of eligible households.

The Devon Community Foundation is exploring how best to deploy funds to voluntary and community organisations that support specific groups who may struggle to access the help and support they need Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's cabinet member responsible for public health and communities, said: "Food and energy prices have risen dramatically in the last few months. We know that many households are being forced to make some very difficult decisions to put food on the table or heat their home. Many will be responding by cutting their energy use, and we know that living in cold homes has a direct impact on people’s health.

“But these latest rises come on top of what we already knew - research early last year found that one in six of Devon households were experiencing food insecurity and one in ten households were experiencing substantial disruption to their eating patterns, with people eating less and going hungry.

“That situation has gotten worse as rising costs of living are putting even more pressure on household budgets.

“Our team devon district council and voluntary sector colleagues, are doing what we can to help families and households through these difficult times. I’m pleased that we’re again able to help distribute this latest funding to those most in need.”

The Household Support Fund is one aspect of the support that councils across the county are making available to households. For more information about the range of support available, visit Devon County Council’s website, or your local District Council’s website: