A series of grants or interest-free loans will be made available to those most in need in Brent to help them manage the impact of Covid-19.

On Monday (July 20), Brent Council’s cabinet approved a report outlining its plans on how to use surplus money from a government support scheme.

The £2.6 million ‘Covid-19 Support Fund’ will cover various schemes, including payments to ease pressures following job losses, training programmes, and respite options for young carers.

There is also the possibility of providing support to help cover rent arrears or mortgage payments, while elderly residents could be reimbursed for any unexpected additional costs they have incurred.

And the council has put together a ‘digital package’ worth up to £885-a-year, which would provide residents with computer and online materials to help them work effectively with social distancing measures in place.

Alongside the grants, there is the possibility of introducing interest-free loans as part of the fund to help people back on their feet.

The council is in the process of working out how these would be managed, with a joint initiative with a credit union likely to be the course of action and a proposed deadline set for August 17.

The report comes after Brent Council needed to spend just £1.3 million of government funding on those in receipt of council tax support.

Cllr Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, said she was pleased the council will be able to “support far more residents than we first thought”.

“I’m delighted to see how we can think creatively to support our residents during this Covid crisis,” she said.

“It is part and parcel of our digital inclusion to give residents the chance to support themselves in terms of employment and online access.”

She was supported by Cllr Eleanor Southwood, who is responsible for housing and welfare at the council, who welcomed the “sustainability” of these schemes.

“There’s likely to be a cliff edge shortly and the impact is likely to go on a lot longer,” she said.

“We were keen to not just help those with the immediate impact but when things get tough over the months ahead.”