Winter support vouchers
Stockport Council have asked us to share the following information about Winter Support Vouchers.
Winter Support Vouchers
Stockport Council are committed to ensuring residents have the help and support they need as part of our offer to families through the Department for Work and Pensions’ Household Support Fund.
As a part of this, the Council is supporting those families with school-age children who are eligible for income-based free school meals and those in early years with equivalent eligibility, and those households in receipt of Local Council Tax Support and/or Housing Benefit paid by Stockport Council who have dependent children. Eligible families are receiving a one-off voucher to the value of £60 per child as a Winter Support Voucher for the period to 31 March 2023 to help with the cost of energy and other essential living costs.
Families do not need to do anything to apply for their voucher/s, as these will be sent automatically for any eligible child (free school meal claim or Council Tax/ Housing Benefit claim in place on 7 November 2022).
Vouchers for children in receipt of free school meals will be sent by email where the council holds an email address for the qualifying family, otherwise the parent will receive a voucher by post. For families with children in receipt of free school meals for which the Council does not hold an email address, and for those children eligible for a voucher by means of Local Council Tax Support and/or Housing Benefit paid by Stockport Council, vouchers will be sent by post.
This means that some families will receive both email and letter vouchers, and there may be more than one letter voucher if a family has more than one child eligible for a letter voucher.
Both vouchers can be redeemed for cash at a Post office, and both will include information on how this may be done and their intended purpose.
A list of Post Offices can be found on the Post Office website: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder.
The council are planning for vouchers to be issued in the week commencing 21 November 2022. The council will send an email directly to families who are to receive an electronic voucher to notify them once the vouchers have been issued.
The final date to redeem vouchers is Sunday 18 December 2022 for letter vouchers (it should be noted that this date is a Sunday, and it may not be possible to find a Post Office open on this date), and Friday 23 December 2022 for email vouchers. Vouchers expire after this date.
If you are eligible for an electronic voucher be sure to check your spam/junk folders as well as your main Inbox. The email will be sent from Stockport Council with the subject heading ‘External: Post Office Payout® Household Support Grant’. Alternatively, search your emails for ‘Stockport Council’, ‘Payout’ or ‘Household’ to help locate it. Your voucher has been sent to this email address and is attached as a PDF barcode.
If you still cannot find your voucher, visit www.stockport.gov.uk/wsv for more information. The webpage also has suggestions and tips for finding, opening and redeeming your voucher and has a link to an enquiry form to use if you have any problems accessing or redeeming your voucher/s.
Other support available:
Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme – The HAF programme provides enjoyable activities and nutritious meals for primary and secondary school aged children who are eligible for means tested free school meals. Children can access up to 4 days of free sessions throughout the Christmas holiday period. These clubs are primarily running during the first week of January - Tuesday 3rd – Friday 6th. The sessions include a variety of fun activities, including sports, music, arts and other exciting opportunities to learn and develop skills, alongside a nutritious meal each day. To find out if your child is eligible for a place this Christmas, and for details of how to book a place when they become available, please visit www.stockport.gov.uk/HAF. For queries regarding the HAF programme, email the HAF Team on HAF@stockport.gov.uk.
Cost of Living Hub – help with food, fuel and money – Stockport Council have launched a dedicated cost of living webpage that gathers the wide range of support available from the council and other organisations in one place. Visit www.stockport.gov.uk/costofliving.
Citizens Advice Stockport (CAS) – Citizens Advice Stockport provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice and information. Contact CAS if you need help with your energy bills, rent or council tax, benefit checks or benefit applications, or mortgage arrears. You can also contact CAS if you need specialist support with benefits if you have a long-term illness or are disabled, if you’re a carer or if you’re a member of the Armed Forces community. Phone: 0808 278 7803 to speak to and advisor or visit www.casort.org for more information, advice, or ways to access services.
Healthy Start Vouchers – If you have a child under the age of four or are pregnant, you may also be eligible for further support through the NHS Healthy Start Scheme. More information can be found at www.healthystart.nhs.uk. You can also ask a midwife or health visitor for help or phone the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823.
Stockport Council Support Funds – If you're a Stockport resident and are experiencing a financial crisis, you can apply to Support Funds for help. Applications can be submitted online to access foodbank referrals, emergency gas/energy top-ups for those on prepayment meters, help paying your Council Tax, help with rent shortfalls or help to apply to a charity or trust fund for further support. For more information and to apply, visit www.stockport.gov.uk/financial-support-in-a-crisis.
Foodbanks – To request a food bank referral, please contact your child’s school or phone Stockport Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7803.
Stockport Council Welfare Rights Team – A team of experienced specialist advisers can represent you at benefits appeals or if you have a problem with your benefits. For more information, visit: www.stockport.gov.uk/help-with-benefit-appeals. If you need any help completing the form, you can contact the Welfare Rights Team by email at email@example.com or by calling 0161 217 6003.
DigiKnow Helpline – If you are struggling to get online, or do things online, or have lost access to the internet through lack of money, contact the DigiKnow Helpline on 07724 217888 or visit www.stockport.gov.uk/digiknow. Available support includes a free device library and data, access to low-cost refurbished devices, or free computer classes to increase your digital skills.