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An elderly man looks shocked looking at his energy bill.

Supporting residents over the winter

by Emily Maguire

Thousands of residents have been supported throughout last winter and continue to be supported through the current cost of living crisis with a number of initiatives funded through the Government’s Household Support Fund (three allocations of £3.7m) and the Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund (£4.5m)

This support will continue over the coming month as we approach the winter months.

Since 2021, the funding has been used to support residents with:-

  • Food and other essentials – working with community groups to ensure food is accessible in local communities, funding holiday activities for children over the school holidays which include the provision of nutritious meals.
  • Heating support – winter warmth packs provided to residents, boiler repairs and replacements, fuel and utility bill support and warm hubs opening across the borough providing places for people to stay warm, including the Borough’s libraries and other community spaces.
  • Debt and benefit advice – additional resources to provide targeted debt and benefit advice to residents.
  • Housing support – funding to registered social landlords to provide support to their tenants and supporting those in rent arrears.
  • Jobs and training support – supporting residents into employment or training opportunities.
  • Other targeted support – funding allocated to schools to support pupils (including support with school uniforms and free school meals), funding to children’s social care and adult social care to improve housing conditions of vulnerable residents and families, financial support to pensioners over the winter months, support to carers and residents with disabilities.

From now until April 2024, the remaining Knowsley Better Together Hardship funding of £0.8m will be used over the coming months to provide additional support including the continued provision of holiday activities for children, warm homes boiler repairs, schools-based support to families in need and support to tenants identified through registered social landlords.

Working alongside community partners, who work directly with residents and know exactly the challenges they are facing, the remaining £0.7m of Household Support Funding will be used to support Knowsley Foodbank and community based food and essentials projects. The Council has worked in partnership with these community groups to ensure a comprehensive network of food and essentials is available to meet the identified needs of the community over the winter months.

Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said “It’s been an incredibly tough few years for our residents, firstly with the pandemic and more recently the cost of living crisis. Such challenges don’t disappear overnight and we are doing all that we can to ensure our residents have the right support at the right time as we approach the winter months.

“It’s really important that residents know that if they need help, they are not alone. As well as the Council’s and partner agencies’ support, we have a wealth of amazing community groups who are providing invaluable support to our residents. They know exactly what our residents need and we are ensuring that this support is available to them.”