York CVS recently hosted the Cost of Living Crisis – Support in York event and it was full of people keen to hear what support was available and to discuss issues and what we can do as a city.
MP Rachael Maskell was there and some of the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust team. The Area Manager of the Trussell Trust, Local Area Coordinators, representatives from Age UK and Refugee Action York alongside many local charities and community groups were all present, keen to know what support was available in York.
Two Ridings Community Foundation talked about the launch of their Cost of Living Crisis Fund which is offering up to £2k to groups throughout the region initially to deal with critical issues in communities like food and fuel support and essential items. It was stressed that the fund will evolve as more donations come in and that people should keep an eye on their funding page for more details.
They also pointed out other York focused funds available that revolve around similar issues including York Step Change Fund and the Belfrey Small Grants Fund, because the Cost of Living Crisis Fund was open to the whole region and they were expecting a very high number of applications.
Two Ridings also encouraged those that could afford to, to donate to the Crisis Fund.
City of York Council highlighted the ‘Talk Money’ series of events and web pages available on their Live Well York website and talked through some of the resources like how to calculate what benefits you are entitled to, how to save on fuel bills, green home grants and advice agencies people can turn to who are worrying about money.
The site is a comprehensive resource, with lots of information pulled together and well worth looking through.
They also stressed that people from the Council will be at many of the community hubs, on a laptop in the corner, and are there to sign post and advise. So if you go for a cuppa or an activity at your local centre, be sure to seek them out.
A new role at the Council revolves around Food Insufficiency and they are trying to bring together all the food share options in the city focusing first on a map to highlight where all the food options are located: community PAYF cafes, community fridges, voucher operated food banks, community food banks and breakfast club and then follow up with conversations to aid a connected approach and avoid duplication.
Finally York Energy Advice directed people to their website where the offered various hints and tips on how to run heating efficiently and install energy saving measures. They offer free support for anyone on a low income, who is over 50 or suffering from long term mental or physical health issues.
Healthwatch also talked about their Cost of Living survey encouraging people to fill it in.
There was much discussion and debate following the presentations, around amongst other things where people can get clothing now that charity shops were so expensive and whether the supermarkets and suppliers can actually service all the new food provisions that are opening.
All in all it felt like there was support out there specific to York, but that discussions and collaboration need to continue.