Council boosts financial hardship fund for residents impacted by COVID-19

Monday 23 March 2020

Residents in Kensington and Chelsea in need of financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply now.

The Council is placing £500,000 into a financial hardship fund, with the option to add to this further later. The existing Kensington and Chelsea fund has been available to residents for years but is being expanded so that the council can help more people who are affected by coronavirus. The fund supports people to pay for essentials such as food and energy bills.

This will be on top of a contribution from government, which announced £500 million for hardship funds within all UK local authorities last week. The amount for Kensington and Chelsea from national government has not yet been confirmed.

The Council is helping those most in need with a team of staff ready to step in and assist the two food banks in the borough, and working with partners to introduce a new food bank in the south of the borough.

A Council Tax Reduction Scheme already offers 100% relief on council tax to the most in need. The Council is looking at extra help for the 3400 people of working age who currently receive partial support as part of its response to COVID-19.

Kensington and Chelsea Council’s Leader Elizabeth Campbell said:

“This is an incredibly tough time for everyone and we are doing everything we can to support our residents. We are expanding our hardship payment scheme by half a million pounds, on top of the contribution we expect from government, so that we can help more people who are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will go further if we need to.

“We will help as many people as we can. We need our communities to help us too so please stay home as much as you possibly can to limit the spread of this virus and protect others in our community.”

The Council is already supporting businesses offering rent relief to market traders and will be contacting businesses as soon as we know how the government’s business rates relief holiday will be implemented.

Residents can apply for a hardship grant online or by calling 020 7745 6464 between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Lines are busy and officers are working hard to deal with them as quickly as possible.

In the coming days the Council will set up a hub, as announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday 22 March, to support elderly vulnerable and vulnerable self-isolated residents to access essential medicines during 12 weeks of isolation. The Council is working with the NHS to identify those people in Kensington and Chelsea.

If you are not in a vulnerable group and would like to volunteer during the pandemic visit www.voluntarywork.org.uk.

To see the full list of Council actions and service updates visit the coronavirus portal.