In response to increased demand for support and advice services, BCP Council has been working closely with partner organisations and has now launched a dedicated cost of living online hub for local people.
The support hub includes useful advice around being financially resilient, how to access free gadgets to reduce energy bills and tools to help residents access community food projects in their area.
Further updates on our support package this winter will also be promoted when available through the hub, including details about the next round of Household Support funding. The Household Support Fund project is funded by the government and will include support for local community food providers, amongst other cost of living help provided by BCP Council and our partners.
BCP Council has already taken steps to highlight cost of living support during its most recent themed Live Q&A session with Councillor Drew Mellor. This event brought together speakers from Citizens Advice BCP, Poole Waste Not Want Not charity and BCP Access to Food partnership to answer important questions from residents about the support which is in place. It also provided insights into upcoming cost of living schemes which BCP Council and its partners will offer this winter.
Councillor Jane Kelly, Lead Member for Communities, said:
“As we head into the winter season, we are working closely with our partners to provide wraparound support to our residents to help them cope with the current cost of living.
“We encourage anyone who is struggling as a result of this situation to reach out to us and our partner organisations for help. There is support which is in place to help you to manage the cost of food supplies, energy bills and other financial pressures and our partners can provide free and friendly guidance on your situation.”
Tom Lund, Head of Operations & Service Delivery at Citizens Advice BCP, said:
“In the past 6 months, we’ve supported more people than we have ever supported and worryingly, demand for our services is forecasted to rise over the coming winter months. This winter, we will again be working closely with BCP Council to support residents through the next phase of the Household Support Fund and we are building capacity to meet increasing demand on our services.
“Our Community Advice Vehicle will continue to visit locations across the conurbation and we’re working with partners to ensure demand can be met through our advice channels, all of which can be accessed via our website.
Erika Sloper, Charity Project Manager at Poole Waste Not Want Not, said:
“We are a social supermarket which complements other services such as food banks in our area, meeting needs at a different point. While food banks support the crisis, we are looking to support the long journey in money management with positive outcomes.
“As well as supplying access to affordable food we have designed a coffee shop area within the shop to develop other services, such as menu planning on a budget, money advice, training opportunities, and encouraging social groups to reduce loneliness in a non-judgemental environment.
“Over the winter months, our doors are always open and serving hot soup / daily specials or just come in for a coffee and a natter where friendships are formed – our members often comment that this is their happy place.”
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For more information on cost of living support, visit: bcpcouncil.gov.uk/costofliving/
Find out more about Citizens Advice BCP’s advice channels: citizensadvicebcp.org.uk/get-advice/.
The Access to Food map is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking to find food support in their local area: bcpcouncil.gov.uk/accesstofoodmap.