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New multi-million fund unveiled to help most in need

A further £10million of emergency funding is being rolled out to continue helping Kent’s most vulnerable households and businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, Kent County Council has announced.

The Helping Hand Scheme includes a raft of support – ranging from assisting just-managing families with heating bills and helping struggling firms stay afloat, to tackling digital poverty and match-funding crowdfunded community projects providing vital local assistance.

The scheme is the latest initiative to help people and businesses in Kent under pressure, because of Coronavirus restrictions, funded by the £95m Emergency COVID Grant – money awarded to KCC by government over recent months to help contain the outbreak.

Working with district and borough councils, and other key partners, KCC will distribute the latest tranche of grant to relevant services and organisations to award to those most impacted by the current national lockdown.

The Helping Hand Scheme includes a range of targeted help, including:

  • £4m for low-income individuals and households and those in financial crisis – which will be made available via council services such as the Kent Support and Assistance Service, as well as district and borough councils, voluntary and community organisations, including Kent Community Foundation, and utility companies, such as South East Water.
  • £3m for businesses and the self-employed – which will be allocated through council services, district and borough councils, voluntary and community organisations, and business networks, including the Chamber of Commerce.
  • £2.5m to tackle digital poverty – working with schools and colleges, district and borough councils and voluntary and community organisations, and
  • £500,000 to match-fund crowdfunded community projects – that support local communities respond and recover from COVID.

If you are vulnerable and have an urgent need that cannot be met through existing support networks, you can contact the Kent Together helpline at www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether or by calling on 03000 41 92 92. It is a 24-hour service.