Local assistance fund

The fund supports vulnerable adults to move into or remain in the community, and to help families under great pressure to stay together.

Support available from the fund

The local assistance fund does not replicate what was previously provided by the government. No cash payments, crisis loans or community care grants are available. Awards are made in-kind, for example, by supplying household goods and basic necessities.

The fund provides practical support for vulnerable people who are moving into or seeking to remain within the community; for example, you may have recently experienced a crisis and need a few basic essential items to help you cope. Funding has been made temporarily available for the scheme via the Household Support Fund, and you may apply for up to four awards of food and/or utility/utility top-up in a rolling 12-month period. For other items provided under the fund, a maximum entitlement of two items may also be awarded within the same 12-month period, only one of which may be a white good item.

View the full list of the items provided by the fund.

Eligible applicants can apply for food and / or utilities vouchers up to four times due to temporary uplift in awards. There will be no minimum period that eligible applicants will have to wait before making another application during this time. An applicant may apply again in the same period where entitlement has run out only where it can be evidenced that circumstances have changed, however.

As long as an applicant is eligible, food, clothing and beds and bedding awards can all stack and do not count as multiple awards.

Eligibility for support

Support will be targeted, although not restricted, to:

  • carers
  • families who are under exceptional pressure
  • individuals recently released from prison
  • people with learning or physical disabilities
  • people with mental health problems
  • people who have a drug or alcohol dependency
  • those who are homeless
  • those who have experienced domestic abuse

View the Local Assistance Fund vulnerability criteria.

To be eligible for Local Assistance Fund support in North Yorkshire you must also be able to demonstrate that you:

  • are 16 years old or over
  • live in, or are moving into North Yorkshire
  • receive a means-tested benefit or have a household income below the low income threshold (currently £16,105) and less than £1,000 in capital
  • have exhausted all other forms of support
  • are receiving support from an authorised agent

You can find out more about eligibility guidance on the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund guidance page.

Submitting an application

Applications are made through authorised agencies that will provide support to those who are eligible and are identified as vulnerable.

View a list of the authorised agents.

At this time, we are not taking applications for any new authorised agents to be added to the list above. This does not affect you making an application to the fund.

If you are wanting to apply for food and/or utility support, and it’s your first time applying or you are applying for the temporary additional award described at the top of this page, you can contact the fund’s administrator, Family Fund Business Services, to apply on 01904 550030.

Benefit delays

If you're waiting for an award of benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions and you have no money due to a delay in your initial payment being made, you can apply for a short-term benefit advance.

Contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 328 5644 and select the option for the benefit you are waiting for.

Other forms of support

Should your application be rejected or should you feel you need further support, there are numerous organisations who may be able to help and support you. You can find support information on our cost of living page.

The team at North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund review applications that are rejected regularly. Main reasons for rejected applications to this scheme include; not meeting criteria, evidence not received, duplicated applications, out of area requests and non-North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund items requested.

Non-standard applications

Through North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, sometimes applications deemed ‘non-standard’ are received.

North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund works with providers; AO, Argos, Blackhawk, PayPoint and TFS who each have ‘standard items’ lists of which we provide access to on our webpage. The fund can consider requests for other items not listed, however, the case must be made for these items in the application form and there is no guarantee that they will be awarded.

Please note that the Fund is discretionary, and any item not listed as ‘standard’ will take longer for the team to resource and award if approved.

North Yorkshire Council does not have a specific ‘exceptional Items’ process which is shared with agents as this is not a normal service to promote with agents or beneficiaries however, if an agent is requesting an item that isn't on the core list, agents are asked to give the reasons why a beneficiary may need this item in their application form. Administrators of the Scheme, Family Fund Business Services, would then review the reasons, if the reason were valid, applications are then referred to North Yorkshire Council to approve the item.

If approved, an exceptional item form is complete and sent to the Family Fund Business Services Helpdesk team to gain prices from suppliers. Once the price is agreed and the item is selected by North Yorkshire Council, the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund team would then manually key this order on to the portal as an exceptional item to be delivered to the beneficiary.

We will work with the agent and to our best abilities keep the beneficiary updated throughout the order and delivery process of an exceptional award item.

Impact study

In early 2018, we commissioned an external organisation to undertake research to assist in our understanding of the impact that the North Yorkshire local assistance fund has on its voluntary, community, and frontline local authority service partners, as well as on applicants of the fund.  You can read the Local Assistance Fund impact study report on the North Yorkshire Partnerships website.

Authorised agents

In order to ensure that those most in need get the maximum support when they need it, the North Yorkshire local assistance fund works with a number of key voluntary, community and statutory services as 'authorised agents'.

An authorised agent is an organisation that can make direct referrals to the local assistance fund on behalf of applicants. The fund's authorised agents will be:

  • in contact or working with the client, and have knowledge of their needs or circumstances;
  • able to help identify those in most need who may be eligible for the fund
  • able to provide confirmation verifying that they have had sight of the required forms of evidence of identification and of need

If you wish to find out more about becoming an authorised agent, please contact us.