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Cambridge City Council

£10,000 funding boost for energy voucher scheme

3 November 2022

CAMBRIDGE City Council will provide £10,000 to Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) to ensure energy vouchers can continue to be awarded to Cambridge residents in urgent financial need this autumn and winter.

CLAS is a well-established local scheme which provides information, advice and one-off practical support to people across Cambridgeshire during times of exceptional hardship.

Due to additional pressures already being experienced (with 65% of funding for the year already spent), there was concern the scheme would not be able to provide energy vouchers during the coming autumn and winter. The £10,000 council grant ensures CLAS will now be able to offer energy vouchers to Cambridge residents.

Vouchers will either be for pre-paid meters, with a value of £28 (for an individual) or £48 (for a family), or provided through a Digital Payment card that people on Direct Debits can use to pay into their gas and electricity accounts directly with their energy supplier.

In exceptional circumstances CLAS can instead issue vouchers to purchase alternative sources of energy, such as bottles of gas for people living in caravans, or vouchers to use in supermarkets, to help people free up money to use on energy. Beneficiaries can be awarded the payments up to three times during the autumn and winter.

Cllr Mairéad Healy, Executive Councillor for Equalities, Anti-Poverty and Wellbeing, said: “Earlier in the autumn we supported the brilliant fundraising campaign run by Cambridge Sustainable Food with £10,000 match-funding, to help ensure people would be able to access food and slow cookers. Today’s announcement shows we’re committed to helping residents keep the heating on.

“We don’t want anyone to have to choose between heating and eating, and in addition to the support on offer through CLAS and other partners, there is a lot more available to residents. I would encourage everyone to take a look to see if there are suggestions you haven’t considered – whether you call our Customer Service Centre, take a look at our Cost of Living webpages, or come along to one of our pop-up events throughout November, please do get in touch.”

Gerry Cano, CLAS Project Manager, CHS Group, said: “We’re grateful that Cambridge City Council has responded in this way, making it possible to give those who need it some extra help to pay their energy bills.

“CLAS Champions have great knowledge of the different routes to support that are available to people locally – from the county council’s Household Support Fund, to the city council’s Discretionary Housing Payments, and lots more available through other partner and charity organisations. But it’s so important that when we are talking to people, we know we have this backup option to provide vouchers when that is what someone really needs.”

Residents can find out more about eligibility for CLAS support on the Making Money Count website and searching for ‘CLAS’. 

CLAS is commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council at a cost of £300,000 annually, and administered by local housing group CHS. The scheme is also able to provide white goods, recycled furniture, and vouchers for food and other essential items.

Cambridgeshire County Council has also agreed to provide an additional £89,000 to the CLAS scheme, which will enable a greater number of white goods to be funded for people in need.