Buckinghamshire Council agrees comprehensive Cost of Living package for residents

Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet has formally agreed a wide-ranging package of support for residents this winter, including how it will spend £2.4 million of the government’s Household Support Fund.

The proposals to support struggling Buckinghamshire residents are believed to be among some of the most comprehensive in the country and include initiatives already underway, such as a new local crisis fund, and the launch of a network of ‘Welcoming Spaces’ across Buckinghamshire.

The report noted by Cabinet today also details how the £2.4million Household Support Fund will be spent in the county, co-ordinated through the Helping Hand service, the council’s support programme in place in Buckinghamshire for local households experiencing hardship.

The Household Support Fund covers the period 1 October 2022- 31 March 2023 and councils have some discretion and flexibility over how they identify local households and set eligibility criteria.

In Buckinghamshire, the Household Support Fund for this winter will be used in the following way:

  • £500,000 for applications for financial help to the ‘Helping Hand’ team
  • £820,000 to fund digital food vouchers – for eligible nursery and school children, and some arrivals from Afghanistan and Ukraine that the council is supporting
  • £300,000 to local community groups delivering free support to residents such as foodbanks
  • £360,000 of targeted support for priority groups such as Care Leavers and Pensioners through digital vouchers and other schemes
  • £250,000 to bolster the local crisis fund, which has already raised more than £80,000 in under a month of operation


There are a number of other measures and initiatives the council is undertaking this winter too, alongside partners in the voluntary and community sector as part of the overall ‘Helping Hand’ package of support for residents.

These include:

  • A unique ‘Crisis Fund’ with the charity ‘Heart of Bucks’, which has raised more than £80,000 already for local residents – offering another valuable pot of funding to help people struggling to cover their bills
  • Launching a network of ‘Welcoming Spaces’ for people to come into safe, inclusive spaces that offer warmth, support and company
  • The development of a ‘Warm Box’ offer, to provide another strand of practical help to residents who need it
  • Continuing our ‘HAF’ (Holiday Activities and Food) programme offer through the longer school holiday periods (Christmas, Easter and Summer), providing eligible children with free, high-quality holiday activity clubs with a healthy hot meal
  • Pulling together information, support and advice into one place on the Buckinghamshire Council website, so people can access information quickly and easily that is tailored to their needs


Linking up with local organisations is also an essential part of the overall support available to local residents and includes partnerships with local housing associations, charities and other volunteer groups.

Councillor Steve Bowles is Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities.

He said,

“There are very real challenges facing local households at the moment and I am incredibly proud of the package of support we are offering our residents this winter. I genuinely think it will make the difference for many Buckinghamshire households in the coming months. I am also proud of our record on getting help out of the door, and the practical nature of the support we are providing; local people are not having to wait around for this support and are already spending food vouchers and accessing our Helping Hand service to get advice and help.

“The months ahead may pose many challenges but our strong communities and excellent links with other fantastic local organisations will help us all through this. I urge anyone facing hardship or worried about paying their bills to take a look at our website in the first instance, so they can see where best to go for further advice and support.”