More than 25,000 residents supported and over 50,000 meals distributed this winter in Stoke-on-Trent

Published: Thursday, 23rd March 2023

More than 25,000 people have accessed support, and over 50,000 meals have been distributed in just five months.

It is through a unique partnership that is providing support to city residents who need it the most.

Since the launch of the Stronger Together Through Winter website in October 2022, there have been:

  • 16,452 visitors to the Stronger Together Through Winter website.
  • 13,578 calls to the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline.
  • 65 Welcoming Spaces where people can meet up, socialise, and potentially access support relating to the cost of living were registered across the city and they averaged 30 attendees a week (and up to 100 a week).
  • 62,899 meals were provided through the Trussell Trust, Hubb Foundation, Affordable Food and YMCA.
  • £125,000 of funding was shared between local voluntary and community sector organisations.
  • Four warm bank donation stations were established across the city.

Stronger Together Through Winter has brought services together to offer targeted support and provide a single point of information on a wide range of individual support, financial support, mental health support and wider community activities.

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. It is co-chaired by Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council and Carol Shanahan, co-founder and trustee of The Hubb Foundation and owner of Port Vale Football Club.

The Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline, established by Stoke-on-Trent City Council with Brighter Futures, provides callers with a safe space to talk about issues they are facing. They can then signpost callers to the most appropriate support service.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council said: “We developed Stronger Together Through Winter because we were determined to help people in our city who need help the most, and the results demonstrate so much good work across a wide range of partners.

“Many households have been feeling anxious about the rising cost of living and I am incredibly proud that our city has come together in this way. It builds on a strong network of support that we established through the coronavirus pandemic and helped so many people in the city. Working with VAST and the many wonderful community and voluntary groups in Stoke-on-Trent has ensured that we provided targeted support to people this winter.”

Lisa Healings, Chief Executive of VAST said: “Once again the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Stoke-on-Trent has come together to work with the council and provide help and support to those most in need in our city.  Building on our work during the COVID pandemic VAST were able to get support pages on the Stoke-on-Trent Together website up and running very quickly to ensure that information on what support was available for those struggling with the increased cost of living was easily accessible in one place.

“Together we have been able to identify what support was most needed and put things in place to ensure that it was available, from food provision and fuel vouchers to warm clothing and advice.  I am especially proud of the network of welcoming spaces that has sprung up across the city and the role that VAST’s team have played in supporting those community venues to provide their community with a warm, safe place during these difficult times.”

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council continues: “Although we are now entering spring, it important to maintain a shared response with our partners across the city to ongoing cost of living issues. Many of the Welcoming Spaces will continue to stay open as we know our residents value these community spaces.

This comes as total of £5,373,444 million pounds in government funding will help to support those most across Stoke-on-Trent over the next year. Stoke-on-Trent City Council has received the fourth round of the Household Support Fund which covers the period 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 to support those most in need and to help with global inflationary challenges and the significantly rising cost of living.

Over the coming months the city council will be making funding available to support those most in need with the cost of food, energy and water bills and other associated costs.

Residents can continue to access information on cost of living support at