Community grants, improved benefit advice and ways to cut down on energy bills are set to target Notts residents most in need.
A new package of support is planned by Nottinghamshire County Council to help those most affected by rising household bills.
Vulnerable residents and those on a low income are at the heart of these plans which aim to be put in place before Christmas. The support includes,
• £450K worth of targeted grants for voluntary groups and community organisations to help them continue their vital work in the community.
• £100k to expand the benefits team to be able to offer more one-to-one cost of living advice.
• £150k investment to provide more expert advice to improve energy efficiency in the home and to help cut down on bills
Under the council’s existing Local Community Fund (LCF) arrangements, local groups, parish, and district councils who are building resilience across communities, including helping those most in need to access affordable, nutritious foods, will be able to apply for grants.
Similar grants will also be available to community groups in need of contributions towards their own rising energy bills to help keep their welcoming and warm centres and halls open across the county.
These 17-month schemes are both due to open from later this Autumn.
Plans also includes expanding the council’s benefits team to encourage more residents to come forward to claim the benefits that thousands of people across the county are entitled to.
£100k will be used to help take on more staff and widen the team’s remit so it can offer a full range of cost of living advice information and guidance as well as more face-to-face advice.
£150k is planned to be invested in an energy expert-led scheme for low-income households and those at risk of serious health conditions. The aim is to improve the energy efficiency of boilers to save struggling households an average of £178 to £267 a year in bills. Further details of how residents can access this help will be available over the coming weeks.
Councillor Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, welcomed the package of support. He said,
“With so many people dealing with the rising cost of living we want to help those who are the hardest hit.
“To make the most of our budgets at a time when all councils are facing incredibly tough choices, our initial focus is on supporting groups, charities, and organisations so they are able to continue their tireless work in community. The aim is that this will help residents become more independent, healthy and build resilience in the long run.
“This planned support is on the back of forthcoming winter support payments , via the £5.6m Household Support Fund, which aims to help around 50,000 households most in need with payments due to be paid this side of Christmas.”
Councillor Matt Barney, the council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said:
“This package of support aims to reduce the impact on health and wellbeing of our residents across the county.
“Funding will be available to help the many community-led projects to continue their essential work, which in turn, is helping many residents to be more independent and learn new skills. This includes offering ‘cook and eat’ sessions where residents can better plan, cook and share nutritious, affordable meals.
“There’s around £15 billion of unclaimed benefits in the UK, which is why we are bolstering the size and scope of our benefits team to help residents access the financial support they are entitled to.
“We want to be able to offer even more face-to-face advice, as we’re aware some people can’t afford the cost of making a phone call or accessing help online.
“We are also pleased to invest in an energy-efficiency scheme which will cut down on energy bills for our most vulnerable residents.”
For further financial support and advice, check the council’s dedicated cost of living support page