Additional funding for Citizens Advice to help residents most in need
Winchester City Council is providing an additional £60,000 of funding to Winchester district’s Citizens Advice service as part of its cost of living intervention measures to ensure local residents are able to quickly access the advice and support they may need.
The money, which is in addition to funding already in place from the city council, is intended to allow for additional resource for Citizen’s Advice to meet the rise in demand for their service during the cost of living crisis and specifically, it will allow them to do more outreach work across the district.
Citizens Advice service offers advice and support for a number of issues that people may be worried about, including managing money, debt, housing and benefits. They are a key partner for Winchester City Council and already refer people to the council’s support services when they need extra help, but the council recognises more support is needed now.
Citizens Advice Winchester District has reported supporting more people with crisis support, energy problems and not having enough money to make ends meet than ever before. The cost-of-living crisis will impact everyone, but Citizens Advice data suggests that certain groups are more severely affected and in need of support than others, for example, disabled people, those with long-term health conditions and older residents.
Winchester City Council announced a Cost of Living Intervention in September, launched by Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Community and Housing, Cllr Paula Ferguson. The Intervention listed a series of measures the council would undertake to maximise support for residents during this exceptional time.
Since then, Winchester City Council has organised a Cost of Living Summit – a meeting of over 40 support organisations from across the district, working together to coordinate and maximise the support available to residents and also to identify any gaps in provision that could be resolved. The council has also launched an emergency Cost of Living Support Grant for not-for-profit and community organisations that offer support for local residents, whether that is by offering a warmer homes hub, providing access to food, or other measures. The council has also created a number of dedicated pages on its website where people can easily access information about the help and support that’s available: www.winchester.gov.uk/cost-of-living
Cllr Ferguson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Community and Housing, says:
“We’re very pleased to have been able to provide this additional funding for Citizens Advice. We know that they offer a vital service in our community acting not only as a reassuring advice centre, but also a gateway to help residents access wider support from organisations across our district. We know the need is now, so supporting organisations to meet rising demand is one of the ways to ensure people get help as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for Winchester’s Citizen’s Advice added:
"Recently we've seen triple the number of people in financial crisis than during the same period last year. This funding will help us to deliver crucial advice and support to people in the Winchester district who are finding themselves in desperate situations and having to make difficult choices, such as deciding between eating and heating their homes."
More information on cost of living support can be found at www.winchester.gov.uk/cost-of-living.
Grant funding is also available for other supporting organisations via the council’s cost of living grant fund: Cost of Living Grant Scheme - Winchester City Council