Drop-in event to take place next week regarding cost of living support

An opportunity to find out more about the help available as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite is on offer to residents of South Tyneside next week.

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A free drop-in event will be held on Monday 11 September between 5.30pm and 7.30pm where the council and community partners will be on hand to offer advice on energy, benefits, training and wellbeing.

The organisations at the event in South Shields Town Hall include the Welfare Support Team, Job Centre Plus, Northern Rights, Fuel Poverty, Nexus, Age Concern, Holiday Activities and Food Programme, WHIST and the NHS.

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Anyone who needs help but can’t attend in person, is encouraged visit the Council’s website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/costofliving

The event will follow the second Poverty Summit which will bring together a whole range of partners to assess progress in tackling poverty in the Borough.

The day will be devoted to learning lessons from what has and hasn’t worked over the past year, developing longer term solutions to tackling poverty and starting the process of shaping and co-producing and Anti-Poverty/Inclusive Growth Strategy for the next three to five years.

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South Shields Town Hall is one of the sites opening its doors.South Shields Town Hall is one of the sites opening its doors.
South Shields Town Hall is one of the sites opening its doors.
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Since the first Summit, much has been achieved with the creation of more than 70 Welcoming Places, a boost for crisis funding, help for families over school holidays and with new school uniforms, as well as Council Tax support and help to maximise benefits such as Pension Credit.

Access to services has been enhanced by an online platform to share information amongst partners and financial support continues to be given to food banks (which the Mayor, Councillor John McCabe has made one of his chosen charities), to the Key2Life community food bus and to boost the capacity of the Welfare Support Team.

Councillor Paul Dean, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: “We have done a great deal of work in the past year but sadly there is still much to do, especially as Winter is on the horizon and fuel costs show no sign of significantly falling.

“We will continue to drive further action on poverty, build on our partnership approach, learn from other areas and continue to lobby Westminster for direct support.”

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Since the last Summit, an evaluation has been carried out of the Welcoming Places by the University of Liverpool and NIHR ARC North West Coast. This research was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC).

The research found Welcoming Places to be incredibly valued by those using them, with people perceiving them as ‘special places’ where they were made to feel very welcome. They were also viewed positively as a way of avoiding putting the heating on at home and as a means of reducing loneliness.

Businesses, the public sector and voluntary organisations are being asked once again to donate what they can to the Welcoming Spaces Support Fund. Donations could include financial help or items such as toiletries, board games, books, music, magazines and food and drink. More volunteers are also needed to help welcome residents and provide advice, guidance or a listening ear.

Any organisations wishing to donate to the fund should contact Inspire South Tyneside at [email protected] or contact the Council at [email protected]

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