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News release from: 14/11/2022

Package of almost £400,000 to help residents through the cost of living crisis

Package of almost £400,000 to help residents through the cost of living crisis

A wide range of support worth almost £400,000 is being put into place by South Cambridgeshire District Council after a cost of living crisis package was agreed. 

At a Cabinet meeting today (Monday 14 November) Councillors agreed to offer additional support measures, especially to people who are most vulnerable, after hearing how the rising cost of energy and food bills is having a major impact on individuals, families, and businesses across the district. 

A total of £180,000 has been put towards support measures from the District Council and a further £211,000 will come from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS). The ICS are providing this funding to ensure support is co-ordinated effectively and directed at those in need locally. 

In addition, the Council is working closely with various local partners to ensure residents know where to go for advice and help. 

Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We’re determined to do all we can to support residents and businesses in our communities. The cost of living crisis is impacting people with moderate to good incomes as well as those already struggling.

“Increased daily bills, especially energy and food, is pushing many into hardship, poverty and worry. We know some families will have to choose between “heating and eating” and many households, particularly those with low incomes, have run down savings and increased debt due to the pandemic, only to face yet another huge challenge.

“Our package of support includes an opportunity for residents who are able, to donate to a charitable giving fund to provide slow cookers and electric blankets for people most in need. We have launched the fund with a £15,000 donation. If you are able to donate, please visit our Go Fund Me page.

The approved support package agreed includes: 

  • £100,000 top-up for Discretionary Housing Payments to support an extra 100 eligible families with housing costs.
  • £60,000 for Discretionary Council Tax discounts for anyone who can show they are in financial hardship and are not claiming from a scheme elsewhere.
  • A proposal to provide Localised Council Tax Support to provide up to 100% discount to some households and increase support for working claimants.
  • £15,000 towards a Charitable giving fund that residents can also donate to. Money will go towards low-cost methods of staying warm and cooking such as slow cookers and electric blankets for people struggling and those only just managing.
  • Expansion of Warm Hubs which are free cosy spaces which residents of all ages can visit to socialise, work, catch up with friends.
  • £15,000 to expand the Warm Packs that are provided to Council tenants so that they include an electric blanket, hot water bottle, thermos flask, blanket, thermal socks, gloves and hat. Contractors, Mears, are providing 75 warm packs per year over a 10- year contract distributed to the most vulnerable tenants. The warm packs scheme will be expanded so Environmental Health officers can distribute to residents living in very cold conditions.
  • Food parcels for people attending the Warm Hubs who are identified as being most in need, in parishes where there is no foodbank already in place.
  • Financially and logistically supporting the creation of new foodbanks within South Cambridgeshire, providing grants to other foodbanks to help continue their provision.  

Information about the above schemes will be made available on our website, including how to apply for support. 

Kit Connick, Chief Officer of Strategy and Partnerships at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, said “Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the Integrated Care System (ICS) is working together to focus help and advice where it is most needed, tailored to the different needs of our local communities. Helping people to stay well this winter is a priority for all system partners. The funding we have provided here, and across the system, will ensure that support is targeted and co-ordinated to where it is most needed to help our local people.”

The Council is also working with a range of partners to ensure good understanding of available local support such as Cambridgeshire County Council on the Household Support Fund that provides one-off food and fuel payments. Also, the Local Energy Action Partnership (LEAP), who provide energy and money saving advice to residents and onward referrals service for income, benefits debt advice and funded energy efficient improvements. 

Additionally, the Council will support residents by authorising and providing Trussell Trust Food Bank vouchers, offering onward support and signposting as appropriate.