More than £50,000 paid to help struggling families over Christmas

Person at a table with bills and receipts calculating their business income and expenditure

Families faced rising costs over the festive period - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than £57,000 was paid out to help East Devon families struggling with bills over the festive period.

Between November 18 and the end of December, 350 households were helped through the Household Support Fund through East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Residents suffering financial hardship this winter can still apply for help to pay for food, essentials and household bills, until March 31.

So far, only 47 per cent of the £142,000 pot of the cash, given to the authority by Devon County Council, has been spent.

EDDC's financial resilience officers also offer advice and guidance, giving as much support as possible to get them through tough times.

Out of the 350 cases EDDC has paid:

  • 140 of those were in receipt of a disability benefit
  • 78 were carers or had a carer in the household    
  • 10 were of pension age
  • 6 were previous members of the armed forces
  • A total of eight per cent of those cases were homeowners, more than 90 per cent were renters across all sectors and just under two per cent were homeless. 
  • Almost a quarter were also employed.

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The figures demonstrate how the people needing help are from all backgrounds and walks of life, the council said.

When broken down into areas, the highest percentage of applicants that needed help were from Exmouth (26 per cent), followed by Axminster (16 per cent), Honiton (10.9 per cent), Sidmouth (10.9 per cent) and Seaton (eight per cent).

Councillor Megan Armstrong, portfolio holder and chair of the EDDC’s poverty working panel, said: "The Household Support Fund has already helped hundreds of individuals and families who are finding it difficult to pay their ongoing regular household bills and I would encourage anyone else who is struggling financially to contact our financial resilience officers who will be happy to help and advise.

"It would be good if all of the allocated funding could be used to help support those who need help before March 31, so please do not hesitate to apply."