Newcastle Council has this winter unveiled a package of measures to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis which is impacting on the quality of life of thousands of city residents and local groups.
The local authority has re-launched a seven-day dedicated hotline (0800 170 7001) to provide advice and support to residents in need over the Christmas and new year period. Residents can call the helpline from 27 December. A booklet called, ‘Cost of Living Support for Newcastle’, which summarises the range of help from both statutory and voluntary bodies, is available from public libraries and other community outlets.
The council, working with other agencies, is focused on immediate practical action. Some of the measures include:
- An outreach team to assist vulnerable residents struggling with rising energy, food and rent costs to help access relevant services;
- Best Winter Ever – a programme of activities for youngsters with subsidised lunches across the city including Kenton Park Sports Centre and Wyndham Primary School, Montagu;
- A network of ‘winter well-being spaces’ including libraries and neighbourhood centres where people can go to keep warm.
In Kenton Ward practical steps are already in place, including a weekly welfare rights service, Citizens advice, the Search project for the over-50s and a local food bank providing 600 food parcels a week to households in need.
The council has secured a further £2.25mn which is funding 16,700 food vouchers during the winter vacation and February half-term holiday. £200k is being utilised to top up the Discretionary Housing Payment Fund to help ease the unfair ‘bedroom tax’ which has hit over 1,000 low- income residents. £20k is being used to support the Fuel Poverty Fund providing cash help for low- income homeowners to carry out emergency repairs to heating or insulation improvements while £400k will be used to provide one-off £200 crisis payments for those in severe need from January 2024.
Dealing with the cost-of -living crisis over the festive season and beyond remains a core priority for Newcastle City Council and its elected members.