Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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West Berkshire Council sets up online hub for cost of living crisis

West Berkshire Council has launched a cost of living support hub for residents facing financial hardship this winter.

It will provide advice as well as matching residents’ needs with support provided by local charities and voluntary organisations.

It’s expected to open in the coming weeks, with more details about how to access it announced soon.

The new hub is being created by West Berkshire Council in partnership with Greenham Trust and the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire – and will see it work closely with the local community and voluntary sector.

Ahead of the launch in October, initial activity will include working with partners to map food providers and other voluntary sector support for residents affected by the cost of living to ensure a comprehensive range of support is available to refer residents to as required.

“This new hub will provide a one stop shop for residents struggling with bills and wanting to find out what help is available locally,” said West Berkshire Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen).

“It will bring together different agencies, skills, knowledge and service provision to ensure residents are supported through a tough winter.

“Through the pandemic and the support provided to Ukrainian families we’ve seen what can be achieved when the community comes together and I’ve no doubt this hub will also make a difference for vulnerable residents.”

Chris Boulton, CEO of Greenham Trust, said: “This winter is going to be particularly hard for many people. Working closely and collaboratively with the council and voluntary sector, the hub will mean we can support local people across the whole community who need it the most as quickly as possible. In times of crisis, we need to act fast. This hub will do that.”

Volunteer Centre West Berkshire director Garry Poulson said:  “We know that the voluntary and community sector will be pulling their considerable weight and assisting people and their families at a time of great stress and strain.

“This hub will seek to ensure that no one falls through the cracks and gets the help they need, be it emotional, practical or financial help via the dozens of organisations in West Berkshire that have an empathy with the plight of people in these  tough times.”

The Cost of Living Support Hub will be the latest in a range of support for residents impacted by the rising cost of living.

A new online resource, where residents worried about paying bills can find out about help available locally, can be found here https://www.westberks.gov.uk/cost-of-living