Grant funding totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds has been used to support residents across Barrow impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Barrow Borough Council received £798,140 from the Government in March 2020 to provide council tax relief as well as a range of activities to meet community needs identified by the Barrow Community Local Resilience Forum.
By September 2021, the authority had awarded council tax relief totalling £460,000 to more than 2,000 households – with a further £221,000 distributed via community projects to provide help including school uniforms, access to laptops and WiFi for children during lockdown, school holiday activities, fuel bills and household essentials.
Councillor Derek Brook, the lead member for community and chairman of the Executive Committee, said: “The funding has provided vital support to many residents across the borough who have gone through an incredibly difficult time financially because of the COVID pandemic.
“Not only that, the funding was critical in helping children and young people continue their education throughout the lockdowns when they needed laptops and access to WiFi to be able to homeschool.
“We were very concerned about the pressure school holidays would place on families when childcare from family and friends was likely to be restricted, so it was important that projects were quickly put in place so children could socialise and have fun which is so important to their wellbeing.”
A total of £117,000 remains from the original funding pot.
Members of Barrow Borough Council’s Executive Committee noted the success of the fund at their meeting on Wednesday, October 13, and have agreed to transfer money unspent in council tax relief to community projects to ensure it is used in its entirety by March 2022.
Councillor Brook added: “The COVID-19 Hardship Fund was much needed during an unprecedented time for our community.
“I’m glad it has been used to help as many people as possible.”