Stronger Families Family Fund Developments **New**
The Stronger Families Family Fund has recently undertaken a review. In addition to this, you will be aware that full service roll out of Universal Credit begins in County Durham next month, and the potential impact this will have on vulnerable families’ finances. We do envisage an increase in the number of applications being received and therefore are keen to make changes to prepare for this.
Key changes with the Stronger Families family Fund (essential household items):
The central Think Family team will source goods that have been approved as part of a successful stronger families family fund application – speeding up the procurement process as Lead Professional’s will no longer be required to identify suppliers, webpages/catalogue numbers etc.
Completion of the HEAT by a member of the TAF will be a mandatory part of the process, however, the central team will not require sight of this but it may be asked for as evidence as part of audit procedures.
A new application form will be based entirely on a families need and Lead Professional’s will be asked to identify priority items that the family need to improve the quality of their lives.
There will also be increased opportunity for the central team to source good quality ‘used items’ from local furniture schemes which will particularly benefit those families that require a number of essential items.
N.B. completion of the budgeting tool will remain a fundamental part of the application form to ensure that the funding is being allocated to those families that are most in need.
In addition to being able to fund essential household items Lead Professionals can also apply for assistance on behalf of our stronger families with the following services:
Bulky waste removal – to safely remove bulky waste items from homes and gardens – full list of items that can be removed will be included in the application form e.g. white goods, furniture, up to 6 bags of rubbish.
Skip Hire – to provide the cost of hiring a skip, delivered to a family home, and then removed within 48 hours. Skip hire is a costly option for removal of rubbish and it will be an expectation that Lead Professionals will have to demonstrate the need for a skip instead of the bulky waste removal.
Child safety equipment scheme – to provide a range of age appropriate child safety equipment, delivered to the family home and fully installed by an external provider (provision of installation is now compulsory)
The existing handyperson service will continue without change.
We hope that these changes and additional services will allow for Lead Professionals to access a much broader, supportive package for families that are on the Stronger Families programme and will have a positive impact on levels of child poverty in County Durham.
All new application forms and further information will be available on the Stronger Families Operational Guidance webpage from week commencing 2nd October. We will cease accepting old application forms from 11th November.