As we approach Christmas and the cost of living crisis continues to cause problems for people across BSW, our local authorities have been putting in place a raft of support to offer help to everyone.
Bath and North East Somerset Council has a wide range of advice and support to help our communities and is reaching out with the simple message of Help is out there.
The Community Wellbeing Hub in BaNES provides supports with money matters, debt, energy costs, housing, and much more. You can call them on 0300 247 0050.
There is also a dedicated Cost of Living Crisis section on Live Well B&NES, which includes support with benefits, energy, food, debt, childcare, and mental health. To find out more go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/costofliving.
Live Well B&NES https://livewell.bathnes.gov.uk also provides a wide range of information, signposting and resources for adults needing care or support, families and parent carers of children with additional needs.
At www.bathnes.gov.uk/warmspaces, you can find a list and map of registered warm spaces across Bath and North East Somerset which provide respect, dignity and warmth. You can also register your own warm spaces on this website.
Swindon Borough Council has a webpage which signposts 19 things that residents can check to see if they’re entitled to any additional cost of living support.
This includes measures such as Pension Credit, help with childcare costs and help with energy costs. People can also get tailored energy advice from Warm and Safe Wiltshire, or if someone needs help in applying for benefits, contact Citizens Advice Swindon.
A new fund is also available for residents in Swindon who need immediate or short-term financial help with the cost of living.
Find out how to apply on Swindon Borough Council’s website.
Also in Swindon, venues are being set up as Warm and Welcome Spaces – a place where residents can go to spend time, stay warm and feel safe. The facilities at each venue will vary – some may offer hot drinks, free Wi-Fi or activities might be taking place. The spaces are open to anyone for free – visitors won’t be asked why they’re there and they don’t need to take part in any activities if they don’t want to.
So far, more than 25 Council-run and community venues have been confirmed as part of the scheme in Swindon, and the Council is looking to open more across the borough to have them available to as many people as possible. The list on their website is being updated regularly
Wiltshire Council has collated a range of information and guidance on a variety of cost-of-living related topics such as energy, council tax and benefits, housing information, the support of local partner agencies, and advice on mental health. There is also a section dedicated to support and advice for businesses. The webpages can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living.
These webpages also contain more information and a link to the council’s interactive community directory which helps inform people where their nearest warm space and local community food providers are by just simply selecting their postcode area.
The dedicated cost-of-living webpages also contain more details about Wiltshire Council’s own warm space service, which sees libraries providing people a warm and friendly welcome to those who need it.
The council is working with Warm and Safe Wiltshire and The Rural Communities Energy Support Network to provide people seeking basic energy advice and make referrals to experienced energy advisors in all but its smallest libraries. All libraries will also be able to signpost people to community partners and agencies that can support people through the rising cost of living. Libraries will also be collection points for Warm Packs, which includes a hot water bottle and blanket, for anyone who would benefit from some free essentials. More information is available at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living.