SOUTH Craven people struggling to buy food and other essentials are being offered support.

An updated scheme to help those in need has been launched in North Yorkshire.

The county council is working with district and borough councils to roll out the third phase of the Household Support Fund to more than 23,000 people.

Initially set up by the Department for Work and Pensions to help people as the country recovered from the pandemic, the initiative has been revised in light of the cost-of-living crisis.

Those who are eligible for support will be given a one-off payment in the form of supermarket e-vouchers.

People who qualify for the help will automatically be identified and receive a letter by Monday January 16, outlining how to redeem the voucher. They will then have until February 15 to use it.

The vouchers can be redeemed at various supermarkets, with some offering an online shopping option.

They may be used directly from a smartphone in electronic form, or printed off to use as a paper voucher.

Councillor David Chance, the county council’s executive member for corporate services, says: "These are difficult times for people, so the third phase of the Household Support Fund will make a real difference to the many residents struggling to afford food and basic necessities.

"We’ve been working closely with borough and district council colleagues to identify who is eligible for the vouchers based on guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions, so people do not need to approach their local council – we will contact you.

"We are asking people to be vigilant for fraudsters claiming to be representing the council and looking to take advantage of the challenging circumstances people are facing, so please be aware we will not ask for your bank account details.

"I would also urge anyone who is eligible and gets a letter to make sure they do redeem their voucher by February 15. When you use your voucher in the supermarket nobody will know that you’ve had a Household Support Fund payment, it will look like any other voucher.

"If you do not qualify for the latest round of the Household Support Fund but are struggling to pay for food, energy or other essentials, there is alternative help available. The fund has also been used to supplement other schemes which will help residents with household costs."

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