Hundreds of £750 grants available for struggling residents

More than 300 residents will be able to receive a one-off grant
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

Council leader Grace Williams at the Pl84U Al-Suffa food bank in Leytonstone (WF Council)
Council leader Grace Williams at the Pl84U Al-Suffa food bank in Leytonstone (WF Council)

Hundreds of £750 grants are available for struggling Waltham Forest residents this winter after the council launched an emergency fund.

Citizens Advice Bureau have been given £250,000 by Waltham Forest Council to hand out to those in need.

Launching the fund outside Pl84U Al-Suffa food bank in Leytonstone, council leader Grace Williams said the government was “worrying about parties” instead of “the cost of living crisis”.

Visibly upset, she said the country’s leaders had “failed” to tackle child poverty, which has risen to 47% during the pandemic.

She said: “There’s no solution for what‘s going on today with fuel bills, no hint of welfare reform, no hint of coherent strategy for children who need recovery with their learning… or national insurance, or inflation.

“We’re determined, despite that, to use this money for families most in need by working in partnership with organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau.”

The Pl84U Al-Suffa food bank in Leytonstone (WF Council)

Figures released by Waltham Forest show one in six households have struggled to access food during the pandemic and the borough has the 7th highest unemployment rate in London.

It is feared that some households will see rises of up to £1,200 on their bills this year.

Users of Pl84U Al-Suffa said the food bank is a “lifeline”. One lady, who asked to remain anonymous, said most of her money is spent on bills.

Debt manager at Waltham Forest’s Citizens Advice Bureau said the service is seeing increasing amounts of debt linked to bills or housing.

He added: “We often have people living in property arrears, who are in insecure accommodation, the housing allowance is not meeting the amount needed to pay for their housing.

“Very often we have clients having difficulty budgeting, their expenditure is lower than their benefits. 

“A long term solution is to have public spending that reflects the reality of expenses that people are having, because of rising costs.”

Residents wishing to apply for the grant are asked to visit Citizen’s Advice Waltham Forest’s website or call 0300 330 1175.