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Hardship and COVID Winter Grant Scheme

COVID Winter Grant Scheme

This is a new government initiative, paid through the council, specifically to support households suffering financial hardship as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19.

The government has awarded councils money under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme designed for vulnerable households and families, with or without children, who are particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This means they are struggling to afford essential food and utility bills throughout the winter period and have no other available support.

What is the grant for?

  • Food and utilities - to buy food or help with/towards household energy and water bills
  • Other essentials like warm clothing, soap and sanitary products, blankets or other essential household items

Christmas free school meals

Children in receipt of free school meals attending a school within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham have already been issued with the food hampers and/or vouchers directly by their schools. If your child attends school outside of this area and are not being included in that borough’s “Christmas Free School Meal” scheme please email benefits@lbbd.gov.uk detailing your full name, address, contact telephone number, your child’s full name, date of birth and the school(s) your children attend and an officer will contact you to discuss your award.

It may not be spent on rent payments, other housing costs or managing debt or general financial hardship. Payments will be made by text codes with money for withdrawal from the local network of ATM’s.

If you think you would qualify for a COVID Winter Grant, are a couple, single or a vulnerable family experiencing hardship please complete the application form using the hardship apply link at the bottom of the page.

We will accept referrals from third parties and as such if you know of someone you believe should be considered for one of these grants – please refer them by email to benefits@lbbd.gov.uk detailing their full name, address and contact telephone number and we will call them directly.

Individual Assistance Payment (IAP)

The IAP fund is used to provide support to those residents who require help with emergency living expenses which includes food, fuel (gas and electric for customers who pay via a key meter), travel expenses (only on Oyster cards), and household appliances and/or clothing in exceptional circumstances.

To apply for the IAP you should be:

  • a resident of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
  • on a low income or unemployed
  • affected by COVID-19 (furloughed, laid off, or loss of Income)
  • need support for resettlement or to meet immediate needs due to an emergency (fire/flood etc) or during a time of crisis
  • having taken all reasonable steps to maximise income available to you via claiming Council Tax Support and/or Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payment, Discretionary Council Tax Relief and/or Universal Credit.

Awards will only be made where there is no alternative means of meeting a resident’s need(s). This includes help and support from friends and family or the Department for Works & Pensions (DWP)

All applications will be treated individually on their own merit.

The IAP scheme in most cases should be seen as a short-term and temporary fund to allow residents who face a variety of challenges to find alternative solutions. We will usually only make one award every 12 months.  

The scheme will work in conjunction with the Homes and Money Hub to support residents across a broad range of services. This will include referrals of IAP applicants to services such as the Job Shop, budgeting and debt advice, adult learning and any other relevant service as applicable for further advice and ongoing support.

The scheme is discretionary, and the claimant does not have a statutory right to payment or appeal any decision made, however, if requested we will review the decision. 

The award is normally issued by BACS payment into a nominated bank account.

If IAP is awarded, we will work with the resident and develop an action plan to move towards an affordable long term solution.

See the IAP scheme and policy (PDF, 525KB)

If applying for essential goods, the following is required:

  • type of cooker required (gas or electric)

To be considered for an award, applicants will generally have to demonstrate that you live in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and you are over 16 years of age. You must also be in receipt of or about to receive one of:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • any disability benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal credit
  • be on a low income

Before you submit your application, make sure you provide the following evidence to support your claim and avoid delay.

Emergency living expensesHousehold items
Budget plannerBudget planner
Mini statement3 months of bank statements
Proof of income (wages or entitlement letter)Tenancy agreement

Proof of income (wages or entitlement letter)


Apply for Individual Assistance Payment (IAP)

If you require help and support completing an application please email: benefits@lbbd.gov.uk.

An appointment will be made for an officer to complete the form with you by phone. This will take longer than completing your own application on-line, which will delay any payment made.