THOUSANDS of Oldham families are set to get financial help for food and other emergency provisions this Christmas.
And now Oldham Council is also calling on generous businesses and residents to play their part, to ensure those most in need are supported this winter.
Nearly £1million has been negotiated from Government to ensure 9,000 vulnerable families on low incomes with children and young people receive £30 vouchers per child for food over the two-week Christmas break.
These vouchers will support up to 17,000 children and young people across the borough including those eligible for means tested Free School Meals and families on low incomes with pre-school children from 0-5 (using Free School Meal eligibility criteria). Families do not need to apply, and the Council is working with Oldham schools and colleges to identify eligible families and issue the vouchers directly.
Councillor Arooj Shah, Oldham Council Deputy Leader said: “Oldham Council has stood up and secured nearly £1million in funding to ensure many vulnerable people will be supported to put food on their tables this Christmas, as well as receiving crucial financial aid in a number of different ways.
“We know that, although this isn’t anywhere near the amount of money needed to support those most in need, particularly with the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, this funding will go some way towards ensuring no child in Oldham goes hungry this winter.
“We will therefore continue to pressure central Government to ensure they do not forget Oldham and its residents and call for fair funding for our borough.
“We’d also love to see people from across our communities step up and play their part this winter. I am always amazed at the spirit and generosity here in Oldham and know that lots of people will be willing to help those in need, in what is one of the most difficult winters many of us have ever experienced.
“Donations to local causes, giving food to local foodbanks and helping elderly and lonely neighbours are just three things that people could do – but we’d also love to hear other suggestions for how people can help in their communities.”
The £1million pot will also allow Oldham Council to top up a range of other financial schemes to support the vulnerable. This includes:
• Warm Homes Grant – money available for people who need help with fuel bills or to fix heating
• Support for Care Leavers from age 18 up to 25 with food vouchers
This support is in addition to the £105,000 Government funding the Council has added to the Local Welfare Provision Scheme pot in 2020/21 to help those in emergency situations - such as people fleeing domestic violence with essential goods such as beds and cookers and essential household supplies
And the council would also like to remind people there are a range of benefits they can apply for to help this winter and that are means tested.
For more details go to - https://www.oldham.gov.uk/wecanhelp
For people in emergency need there is the Oldham Council emergency helpline - 0161 770 7007.
Businesses and residents are being asked to play their part this year to ensure those most in need are supported.
To start the ball rolling Oldham firm Manchester Cabins and Bunkabin, run by the Rothwell family, have provided £30,000.
This generous donation will provide 30 small grants to grass-roots voluntary and community groups who are working tirelessly to support Oldham’s communities.
They will be administered via Action Together and details can be found at https://www.actiontogether.org.uk/oldham-community-recovery-fund
Managing Director, Frank Rothwell, said: “Here at Manchester Cabins and Bunkabin, we haven’t been affected like most businesses. We’ve been able to keep busy during this difficult time and because of that we’d like to make this donation to those in Oldham who are less fortunate.”
Residents who would also like to give something back can also support the campaign by making a donation to the fund at www.justgiving.com/campaign/OldhamCoronavirus