Council continuing to support residents through the cost of living crisis
PUBLISHED: 21 December 2022
Colchester City Council is continuing to support residents through the cost of living crisis.
The current cost of living crisis is affecting everyone, but the impact is being disproportionately felt by those who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Over the last few difficult months, the city council has been working with One Colchester partners to support those who are at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis, including those who might face the terrifying prospect of not being able to feed their family or becoming homeless for the first time.
The council’s Financial and Employment team are one of the first lines of support for those facing hardship. They have supported 768 residents, from September through to beginning of December 2022, helping people who are struggling to feed their families, keep their homes warm and paying essential bills, including:
A dad who was unable to pay his bills and put food on the table for his son – the council helped him access support from the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) and Household Support Fund (HSF). Both were awarded quickly, meaning bills could be paid and they could buy food. The team also had regular catch-ups with the dad and supported him to access computer skills training to increase his future employment opportunities.
He said: “Your help has put clothes and shoes on my son and food in his belly. You do amazing work helping people.”
A woman who lost her job due to ill health was concerned about paying her bills – the council’s Welfare Benefit Specialist was able to support her to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which helps with extra living costs associated with poor health. They also let her know that she could apply for support through the Local Council Tax Scheme (LCTS) and talked her through how to apply. She was also referred to Warm Homes Essex for support and energy advice.
She said: “This information and signposting helped me reach out to the right organisations for the support I needed.” She complimented the Financial and Employment team on their fast response and quality of advice and information given.
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “Although our services are already seeing an increased demand from people who need our help, we will continue to be there for everyone that needs us. It is sad that there are so many pressures on so many, but I am pleased that with our partners we have been able to help hundreds of residents, some with multiple needs.
“We remain committed to supporting our residents through the long winter ahead, from encouraging warm spaces to ensuring the range of support is understood and accessed. Our Financial and Employment team, and many local partners, are working flat-out to be there digitally or at the end of a phone or in person and will be launching a new set of ‘pop up’ events across Colchester in the New Year. Together, we will keep our promise to make those most vulnerable and in need our priority through this long cost-of-living crisis.”