Stronger Together through Winter campaign unites services across the city in helping those in most need
A major campaign to support residents across the city through the cost of living crisis and winter months has launched, with the support of public services, community and voluntary sector groups.
The Stronger Together through Winter campaign has brought services together to offer targeted support that will:
- Use £2m of government funding through the Household Support Fund to help people with energy and utility costs; provide emergency food and the means for residents to access slow cookers, recipes, affordable food and electrical appliances.
- Provide welcoming spaces in community settings during the colder months.
- Provide a single point of information on a wide range of individual support, financial support, mental health support and wider community activities via https://sottogether.vast.org.uk/
The campaign has been co-ordinated by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in partnership with VAST, which supports the voluntary and community sector in the city, and a number of other charities and public services.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “The national cost of living crisis is already beginning to impact on our city as we all start to feel the pinch of increased energy bills and the rise in inflation. As a council, we are impacted by this and are faced with tough decisions, just as everyone else is. But it is absolutely right that we come together as a city to face this challenge.
“During the coronavirus pandemic we collectively showed the tremendous sense of community in Stoke-on-Trent, that we are there for each other through the difficult times, and that crucially, we help people who need our help the most.
“We have taken the principles of that stronger together campaign to again work with VAST and the many wonderful community and voluntary groups in Stoke-on-Trent to ensure we are providing targeted support to people this winter.”
The campaign will see council-run libraries across the city become among the first of a growing number of welcoming spaces, where people can meet up, socialise, access support on issues such as money, welfare and mental wellbeing, access computers, free wi-fi and charging points, and heated spaces.
The council is administering £2m in household support fund money from the Department for Work and Pensions, and this funding will see:
- £1,310,000 to be used to help charities provide slow cookers, flasks, toasters and other small electrical appliances; supply affordable food; and vouchers for free school meals during the two-week December holidays.
- £555,500 to be distributed mainly to local charities to issue fuel vouchers, support vulnerable households and to help people with additional financial support for water costs.
- £100,000 to be used by charities to provide essential white goods to households in financial hardship; personal care and household cleaning essentials; and discretionary housing and essential transport costs.
Lisa Healings, chief executive of VAST, said: “We have a very well connected, supportive community and voluntary sector in the city that has deep roots in communities.
“We know that the colder months will be a significant strain on households right across Stoke-on-Trent, as it will be for people elsewhere in the country. We want to reassure residents that there is help to support you and a lot of planned, co-ordinated work is taking place so that people can benefit from this support swiftly when they need it the most.”
For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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