A new go to point for residents to see what support is available to help with the rising cost of living has been launched by Lancashire County Council.
The Cost of Living information hub can be accessed via Lancashire.gov.uk, and contains numerous categories including benefits and financial help, help with energy and support in the district where residents live.
It also includes information on Lancashire’s Warm and Welcome Places scheme, one of several measures approved by the county council’s cabinet to support our residents this autumn and winter.
As part of the scheme, residents are being welcomed to any one of Lancashire County Council’s 64 libraries, where they can shelter and get information and advice from trained staff. All the council’s libraries have disabled access and will soon be able to offer a warm drink for customers.
To compliment this, the county council is developing a new scheme that will allow organisations in the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise sector, and parish and town councils that own buildings in the community, to access funds to allow them to become warm hubs. Initially, £72,000 will be made available, which will be reviewed based upon the number of applications.
In addition to this, cabinet had already agreed to double the county council’s usual allocation to the affordable warmth scheme to £1m. Working with Cosy Homes in Lancashire, the scheme provides access to home energy support such as boiler and insulation measures. The scheme is commissioned by Lancashire County Council and delivered through district councils.
Cabinet has also agreed to allocate £180,000 for community food projects in Lancashire and to release £896,000 from existing budgets and relevant grants to bolster initiatives that provide support to people in Lancashire. This will support schemes to provide specialist debt advice, the provision of essential household goods and assistance to pensioners and other residents to take up the benefits to which they are entitled.
Cllr Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Many residents are already struggling and are understandably concerned about the months ahead.
“There is lots of support out there, including the significant assistance from the Government to reduce energy bills, and we want to maximise the uptake of these national initiatives as the cost of living is increasing.
“Lancashire County Council has strengthened a number of initiatives with a £2m package of support for local people in this challenging time.
“Residents can sometimes struggle though to access the support. That’s why we have launched our new Cost of Living information hub, which makes it easier for people to find the help they need.
“It also signposts customers to their nearest library, which can offer a warm and welcome space for anyone who wants to come along.
“We know we cannot solve all of the problems on our own, but we will continue to work with partners to ensure we are doing as much as possible to support our residents.”
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health, Lancashire County Council, said: “Protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents this autumn and winter is a key priority for the council.
“While national policies remain central to supporting our residents and businesses, it is important that we take steps locally to further support our residents.
“This is an evolving situation so we will continue to monitor things and adapt our strategy where necessary.
“I would also encourage everyone, particularly those with an existing health condition, to stay up to date with their Covid-19 and flu vaccinations.”