Compton Care works with the city of Wolverhampton Council to distribute the Household Support Fund to patients, carers and families in financial need.

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Project and outcomes


Project overview

In 2021, the government launched the Household Support Fund for people in England who are struggling to afford essential costs. Local authorities were allocated funding to distribute amongst their communities.

Wolverhampton City Council decided to work collaboratively with local charities, who it felt had a better understanding of people’s needs. Compton Care agreed to partner with them as one of the charities distributing the funding.


By Christmas 2021 the team had issued 100 vouchers for £100 each. In the first year of funding, the hospice distributed £43,000 to people in need.

The focus for support continues to be patients and families living in the highest areas of deprivation across the city of Wolverhampton. Referrals are made by the hospice’s Community teams, Living Well service and social workers, all of whom have personal knowledge of the issues their patients are facing.

As well as helping Compton to improve the quality of life of some of its patients and their families, the fund has helped break down barriers and build trust with people who have little knowledge of what the hospice offers.

The Community Engagement team are also able to link people in with wider support such as bereavement services, foodbanks, social prescribers and adult social care. 

Every month the Community Engagement team reports to the city council on the funds that have been distributed, and the demographics of recipients. This contributes to the city council’s public health data and informs wider service planning.

How it works


The hospice received its first allocation of money in November/December 2021, on a pre-loaded debit card. In 2022/23, they received a second allocation.

The Community Engagement team is tasked with distributing the funding. They began with a list of patients and families who lived in deprived areas of Wolverhampton, and approached them to see what they needed.

The funding is used to buy essentials such as:

  • supermarket vouchers and food shopping
  • support with utility bills
  • taxi fares to and from medical appointments
  • clothing and footwear (including new clothes for people who have had drastic weight loss due to treatment)
  • quilts, bedding and electric blankets
  • recliner chairs and comfortable seating
  • replacement white goods (washing machines, ovens etc) 
  • beds, mattresses and downstairs furniture for people who cannot get upstairs.

All these are things that patients, carers and families would not otherwise be able to afford. Since the cost of living and utility bills have increased, there is little or no money left for anything else.

The whole service is confidential, and there is no limit to the number of times people can apply for money.

On a few occasions, the team has had to refuse a request due to patient safety. For example, if someone requests continence products a clinical assessment is required to determine the most appropriate product for the patient. Similarly, some requests for specialist Aids and Activities for Daily Living (ADL) equipment require a specialist assessment. In these cases, the team will always signpost the patient so they can be assessed.

Facilitators, challenges and advice


Key facilitators

Before the funding was allocated, Compton Care had been working to map the geographical spread of patients and families across Wolverhampton. They wanted to identify where there might be barriers to accessing the hospice’s services. This meant they already had a list of patients living in areas of high deprivation.


The first allocation of funding was made just before Christmas in a year when the Royal Mail was on strike. To ensure people received much-needed £100 vouchers before Christmas, staff from all over the hospice went out to deliver them by hand. This had a huge impact as people were incredibly grateful for the money at Christmas.

Some people were reluctant to apply to the fund because they didn’t want to take money from the hospice. The team explained that this is government funding, which is separate from the hospice’s income.

At first, hospice clinical staff found it challenging to talk to patients about the funding. However, as time has gone on, they have become more comfortable with starting the conversation.

Compton Care does not receive funding from the Local Authority to administer the fund. This has had an impact on the Community Engagement team, who have had to do a lot of extra work. However the organisation is passionate about the benefits of the funding and the relief from anxiety it brings to their patients and families.

Tips and advice


Develop internal operating procedures and governance measures to ensure that the fund is being distributed fairly and transparently. Make sure you have robust data protection processes to protect people’s personal information.

Work with the Local Authority to access their approved providers for certain items – they will often offer a discount.