THOUSANDS of households could be eligible for a £500 loan launched to help with the cost of living.
The interest-free loans are being given to residents in crisis or imminent crisis because of rising bills.
You could be eligible for a range of cost living schemes including the government’s Household Support Fund
Ryedale District Council, Citizens Advice North Yorkshire and Community First Credit Union are teaming up to offer a Hardship Grant Fund for locals in need.
People can borrow as much as £500 interest-free, subject to availability and affordability.
The loans are being funded by a one-off revenue grant made by the council.
Residents can find out if they’re eligible by visiting their local Citizens Advice or Community First office.
Councillor Phillip Spurr told the Gazette & Herald: “We believe the timing is right to be launching this important project with our partners, especially as this winter some of our citizens will want to take away some financial stresses and worry.
“We’ve ensured that the types of help are spread around the district fairly and proportionately, so that everyone can take advantage of the support and funding available.
“We urge anyone facing hardship to seek us out at Ryedale House or at any one of the outreach sites, and not let this opportunity for assistance slip by.”
Carol Shreeve, the CEO of Citizens Advice North Yorkshire, said: “Our experienced advisers have been extremely busy during the cost-of-living crisis, and we have seen many people needing financial advice and support from us for the first time.
“We have also seen a huge increase in people not being able to heat their homes, pay their bills or put food on the table despite being part of a working household.
“We encourage people across the Ryedale district who are struggling financially to get in touch as soon as possible, to have a look at their options.”
The scheme is similar to the Sound Pound loan launched in February by Mayor Andy Burnham in Manchester.
Any resident in Greater Manchester can apply for a loan between £200 and £1,000 from local credit unions.
Andy Burnham told The Bolton News: “Credit unions have a key role to play in the financial crisis that we all now face.
“I’m delighted to see them come together across Greater Manchester to provide a local and ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks.
“Credit unions represent a positive, safe solution to short term credit pressures.
“Sound Pound is a fantastic initiative that shows Greater Manchester is doing things differently and coming together to support each other.”
If you don’t live in North Yorkshire or Greater Manchester, there are still a number of cost-of-living schemes available nationwide.
In November, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt allocated £842million to extend the Household Support Fund from April 2023 to March 2024.
The additional money will fund small payments by local councils to vulnerable households which need help meeting daily needs like food, clothing and utilities.
Many councils across the UK are offering their own Welfare Assistance Schemes for people on low incomes who have run into financial difficulty.