South Tyneside Council set to help at risk people during cold weather months

The importance of helping those in need during winter was discussed at an Anti-Poverty Summit meeting.

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South Tyneside Council and its partners are getting ready to help those most at risk of suffering from cold weather this winter.

Groups who are classed at most at risk from cold weather include people over the age of 65, babies and children under the age of 5, people on low-income, those who suffer with a long-term health condition or disability, those who are pregnant, and people who suffer with a mental health condition.

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To determine who is considered most at risk, frontline workers, volunteers and key organisations are to be given a card prompting them to ask key questions, which will allow them to signpost those in need to help and support.

Key factors which will be considered to try to identify those most in need of support, will be whether people are on benefits, are eligible for free school meals, are in arrears or are recently bereaved.

At the Anti-Poverty Summit which took place last week and was attended by almost 100 delegates across over 30 partners, the importance of encouraging people to be ‘winter-ready’ was a key theme discussed, with particular emphasis on the cost of living, health and wellbeing.

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Councillor Paul Dean, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: “We want to make sure our most vulnerable residents are as ‘winter-ready’ as possible. By having brief conversations with those most at risk about benefits, housing, vaccines, wider healthcare, social connectedness and emotional wellbeing, we will be able to signpost them accordingly to the support they need.

“There was a fantastic response to this idea at the Anti-Poverty Summit last week with many organisations – including food banks – signing up to use the card as part of their daily work.”

Other suggestions made at the Anti-Poverty Summit included linking training and skills provision through South Tyneside Works into the Community Food Bus, Family Hubs, and Welcoming Places.

The attendees of the meeting also discussed benefit maximisation and awareness of key schemes such as Pension Credit and tax-free childcare.

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Councillor Dean added: “With more than 35 percent of people living in poverty in South Tyneside, it is clear that there is still much to do.

“However, the partnership is working at pace and is clearly making a difference to the lives of so many people in the Borough.

“Going forward, we will continue to hold the Government to account, highlighting the truth around the scale and impact of poverty in South Tyneside and call for the resources that local authorities and particularly those in the voluntary sector need to be able to continue to provide support for those in need.”

For help and information please visit the South Tyneside Council website.