New measures to help people struggling with rising prices of food and energy are being delivered by Wirral Council.
The package of measures totals £1.7 million of funding to increase support to local communities.
The funding will include £1.2m to establish a Community, Voluntary and Faith Sector grants programme to help people who are struggling and £500,000 to specifically increase support to those affected by fuel poverty.
Over the past few months, there have been steep rises in oil, gas and commodity prices, along with fears of rising and persistent inflation.
As a result, there are increasing reports of residents making choices between heating or eating, being isolated in their homes due to no available money to pay for fuel or electricity and having to prioritise food over other basic but important needs.
Rising prices and pressure on people’s income means people are more likely to fall into poverty, face eviction from their homes and suffer significant mental and physical detrimental health outcomes.
The Community, Voluntary and Faith (CVF) sector plays a hugely important role in Wirral, providing a wide range of activities and services to residents that improve health and wellbeing and contribute to the local economy.
The sector was critical in Wirral’s response to the pandemic and these organisations, which are based within the heart of local communities, are well trusted and respected by residents and will continue to have a pivotal role in supporting local communities this winter.
Because of this and as they also understand the needs and issues affecting local residents and can see where additional financial support will be most effective the Council is supporting them in their work.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Janette Williamson, said, “People are facing an incredibly difficult winter and it is both heart-breaking and unacceptable to see so many of our residents already struggling, so it is vital that the Council steps forward and uses whatever resources are available to it to help.
“We are also working with the Community, Voluntary and Faith Sector who have already made such a difference to their communities and we will be supporting them continuing to help those who need it.”
The £1.2m CVF Sector grants programme will aim to mitigate the impact on people already experiencing financial hardship, to prevent others from becoming financially insecure and to prepare to support people when they need help.
It will complement and not duplicate national Government funding packages of support to date and in the future. All applications will be asked to address at least one of: food poverty, fuel poverty, warm hubs, debt and vulnerable groups. The grants programme will launch by the end of September 2022.
The grants programme will be funded in 2022/23 through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) grant, provided to local authorities by national Government.
In addition there will be a further £500,000 to specifically increase support those affected by fuel poverty and enable local organisations already addressing fuel poverty to develop additional capacity to provide support in response to the evolving fuel crisis. Applications for funding will request that practical winter home packs be supplied to support people to stay warm in their own homes.
Further details of how to apply will be made available shortly.
Additional information: Find about about what help available in Wirral at: www.wirral.gov.uk/benefits-and-money/cost-living
More details about what other help is available can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment
Image: Anna Shvets