Wandsworth block of flats

Wandsworth Council unveils £5m plan to tackle cost of living crisis

Wandsworth Council has set out its plan to fund initiatives that will help residents through the cost of living crisis.

Funding of more than £5m will be used to aid a range of organisations, projects and schemes to give Wandsworth residents more support.

This will include £185k to the Wandsworth Citizen’s Advice Bureau, £1m being given to The Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund and a one-off Winter Cost of Living Payment of up to £150 to all eligible households.

Council Leader Simon Hogg said: “The new council administration is absolutely committed to making sure it does everything possible to help people through this winter and beyond.

“We are not prepared to let anyone fall through the cracks.

“We have set aside this money to work with our partners and local charities to help provide the best support we can for those people who are struggling as a result of the national cost of living crisis.

“We are determined to make a difference and, as we are seeing with policies such as free school uniforms for struggling families, our council administration is already making an impact.”

The proposed measures were debated by the council’s finance committee on Thursday 29 September with a wide range of overarching proposals designed to help and support Wandsworth residents.

The funding for the Wandsworth Citizen’s Advice Bureau will help employ more advisers to support residents in partnership with the council.

The Advice Bureau’s Chief Executive Mary-Ann Foxwell welcomed the news.

She said: “At Citizens Advice Wandsworth we are seeing more residents than ever coming to us experiencing real hardship because of the cost of living crisis, and we know that the situation for many is set to worsen. 

“We are delighted that Wandsworth Council is supporting us to provide a dedicated cost of living service which will enable us to give additional information, advice and support to local people who are struggling in the face of unprecedented price rises.”

The extra £1m for the Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund will provide additional assistance to the borough’s most vulnerable residents who are experiencing hardship, including crisis payments such as food vouchers and fuel grants, as well as community care grants to support vulnerable households.  

Further money will be channelled into supporting businesses, health initiatives, housing support, employment and financial schemes.

This follows the council’s other range of initiatives to help people during the cost of living crisis such as the School Uniform Support Scheme which allows families struggling financially not to pay for uniforms when pupils transition to their next school, with more than a thousand children benefiting.

An online Cost of Living Hub has also been put together on the website including details on grants to help with fuel bills, advice on reducing bills, information on benefits, what to do in a crisis, help available for families, where to get mental health support and links to community organisations and charities. 

To support this work Wandsworth Council will be convening a Cost of Living Commission to hear from residents about how their lives are being impacted by the crisis and help shape what further action can be taken to support them.

Councillor Hogg added: “At the core of all these proposals is our commitment to work with others to find the best way to help our residents through this crisis. 

“Our message to people who are struggling is: this council will not desert you and we will help you find the support you need. 

“We will work with all of our partners to ensure we have a joined-up approach to help people through the coming months and beyond.”

Featured image credit: David Howard under CC BY-SA 2.0

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