Residents who are struggling to make ends meet this winter are being urged to apply for a grant to help meet the cost of living, before the deadline for the Household Support Fund closes on March 31.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) helped 648 families so far by paying out £128,849.36 (more than 79 per cent) of the £162,286 pot of cash.

The cash was given to the authority by Devon County Council to help residents suffering financial hardship this winter.

Out of the 648 applications awarded:

• 247 are in receipt of disability benefit
• 135 have a carer in the household
• 25 are of pension age
• 11 previous members of armed forces.

The areas with the most applicants included Exmouth (321), Honiton (113), Axminster (106), Sidmouth (65) and Ottery St Mary (61).

The grant has help residents from all walks of life - although 79 per cent were unemployed that applied, seven per cent were also in full time employment, eight per cent were in part time employed and six per cent were self-employed. A total of seven per cent of the applicants were also homeowners, 90 per cent were renters and three per cent were homeless.

EDDC’s financial resilience officers also offer advice and guidance, giving as much support as possible to get them through tough times.

Councillor Megan Armstrong, portfolio holder and chair of the EDDC’s poverty working panel, said:

The Household Support Fund has already helped hundreds of individuals and families who are finding it difficult to pay their ongoing regular household bills and I would encourage anyone else who is struggling financially to contact our financial resilience officers who will be happy to help and advise.

It would be good if all of the allocated funding could be used to help support those who need help before 31 March, so please do not hesitate to apply.”

To find out more, get in touch here.