Helping Haringey families with household costs over the festive period

Marcus Rashford (left) is interviewed by Gabby Logan (centre) and Gary Lineker during the BBC Sports

Marcus Rashford, pictured at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, where he received the Panel Special Award for his free school meals campaign. - Credit: PA/Peter Byrne

Christmas is a time of mixed emotions, for me it evokes memories of struggling as a child in poverty in the 1980s and '90s, sometimes in care. A lonely place where the world seems happy - full of food, gifts and indulgence. 

I recognise that for so many in our community the festive season will bring worry - people struggling with their jobs, businesses and finances. People who are scared about how to put food on the table for their families or paying bills.

I am determined that Haringey Council will do everything we can to ease the burden. We are launching our Haringey, here to help programme to ensure we support and inform residents about the help available. 

In October, we supported Marcus Rashford’s campaign to feed children over school holidays and we’re ensuring that each child in receipt of free school meals (FSM) receives vouchers to help with household costs over the Christmas and New Year period. Furthermore, those with a child eligible for FSM can apply for a £60 grant for school clothing costs. 

Cllr Seema Chandwani. Picture: Haringey Labour

Cllr Seema Chandwani. - Credit: Haringey Labour

We’re tackling fuel poverty by making available vouchers and debt relief assistance for households experiencing fuel insecurity and we’re continuing support for residents on low-incomes who are required to self-isolate through one-off grants of up to £500. Where possible, we will support people with no recourse to public funds.

In a tough year for tenants, we’re offering discretionary housing payments to those experiencing financial hardship and needing help keeping up with rent. There’s also council tax assistance, through the council tax reduction scheme - which the council agreed to extend into 2020/21 – and other reductions.

We’re committed to helping local businesses to thrive and survive Covid-19. Local business grants are available to support firms affected by Covid restrictions, and we’ve created the Covid-Safe Business Campaign, to help businesses to operate safely during the pandemic.

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It gives me goosebumps to see how many of you have helped through setting up and donating to foodbanks, through mutual aid and through volunteering in the community helping your neighbours and others through this tough period. 

Haringey has always had a community that helps each other. This has got us through many tough periods and it is this compassion that will get us through this.

Thank you for all you do, I wish you festive greetings and a happy new year. 

Find information on support available in Haringey at 

  • Cllr Seema Chandwani (Lab) is Haringey's cabinet member for transformation and public realm investment.