Newcastle City Council is offering a range of support this Christmas and holiday season to residents struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
It stands ready with the voluntary and community sector to help its residents in need of immediate support until services resume in January.
Deputy council leader, Cllr Karen Kilgour said:
“Whilst Christmas is traditionally a happy time, we know it can also amplify the financial challenges that some families face throughout the rest of the year.
“Many are already struggling with paying for mortgages or rent and heating not to mention food and then the pressure of presents comes along and it can all become too much.
“As a council, our priority is to tackle poverty in the long term and in the short term alleviate the terrible impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on families in our city who are finding it extremely tough now.
“We want to reassure those people that the council does not shut down at Christmas which is why we have put in place a range of measures with our partners such as Your Homes Newcastle and Healthworks Newcastle to offer extra support.
“Anyone who is struggling to afford food can ring the cost-of-living helpline and receive help until normal services resume in January.”
The cost-of-living helpline staffed by Healthworks Newcastle and Your Homes Newcastle will operate seven days a week, including Bank Holidays. For operational times see below.
A network of wellbeing hubs where people can go and get a hot drink and stay warm will also be open across the city during the festive period. A list can be found in the wellbeing hub directory.
Newcastle’s Best Holiday Ever club, funded by the Department for Education and open to children and families in receipt of free school meals over Christmas will provide a range of activities such as indoor and outdoor games, cookery skills, arts and crafts, sports, fitness and dance, health and wellbeing sessions, and quizzes.Over Christmas and February half-term the council will increase payments for free schools meals from £15 per child per week to £20.
To help residents in receipt of Housing Benefit but not eligible for the Government’s full cost of living payment the council made top up payments of £150 to £200. These payments to the same group of residents will be reintroduced in the New Year, when the council will also look to reintroduce £200 hardship payments.
More information on what help is available here.
The cost-of-living telephone line is 0800 170 7001 and it is open:
Thursday 28 December 9am-5pm
Friday 29 December 9am-5pm
Calls outside of these hours will be answered by Your Homes Newcastle who will complete a referral form on behalf of the caller, who will then be called back during the above hours.