Bolton will benefit from £2.8m of government funding, distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions, as the council launches a new campaign to help residents with the cost of living this winter.
Bolton Council has always offered a wide variety of support services to all residents struggling with their finances, but as prices rise more people are affected and are finding it harder to make ends meet.
A new website has now been launched to make it easier to find out what help is available with debts, money and benefits, housing support, food and energy, jobs and skills, health and wellbeing, plus support for businesses.
£2.8m for the Household Support Fund is also available until March 31, 2022, to support those most in need with energy and water bills and a wide range of day to day living essentials.
All residents can ask for support including those not on benefits and anyone who has not previously received cost of living support.
Bolton Council will be delivering a range of help and advice, supported by partner organisations across the borough, including:
- Half-term supermarket vouchers to the value of £15 for each child in households of families eligible for Free School Meals
- emergency support with food parcels, gas and electric payments, travel costs and accessing household essentials such as cookers, fridge freezers and washing machines
- an extra £200k for Bolton’s Fund, which enables more local organisations to provide cost of living essentials in the local community
- creation of warm spaces in local areas providing comfortable places for residents to escape the cold and meet, chat and get specialist help
- £100k emergency funding to help those in genuine need with housing costs
The cost of living campaign is being promoted with the support of all partner organisations, encouraging people to visit bolton.gov.uk/costofliving.
Bolton Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, said:
“We know that many people in Bolton are concerned about the rising cost of energy and other essentials as we head into the winter months.
“The new website is a simple and straightforward guide to the help and support available and I urge everyone to visit.
“The website will be regularly updated as more support, advice and information becomes available.”
The council website also links to partner organisations and the dedicated Government page www.gov.uk/helpforhouseholds.
This provides help with; energy bills and energy price guarantees; cost of living payments for people on means-tested benefits; pensioner cost of living payments and winter fuel payments; disability cost of living payments; low-cost home internet and phone packages; hardship schemes from water companies; help with the cost of childcare; housing benefits and job help, tax relief and work-related expenses claims.
Drop-in advice sessions for all Bolton residents have also been arranged to help the public find out more about the support available.
These will be held at Bolton’s Albert Halls from 9.30am to 1.30pm on Saturday 5th and Wednesday 9th November.
Local organisations will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on ways to make food, fuel and money go further, including Bolton at Home’s Money Advice Service and UCAN Centres, Bolton’s Money Skills Service, plus many more charitable organisations and support agencies.
They will be offering tips on budgeting and energy advice, guidance on the next steps for people struggling with finances and there will be some raffle prizes and free accessories to help people save money in their homes.
Bolton charity, Urban Outreach will also be offering slow cooker demonstrations throughout the event showing you how to cook on a budget.
The first hour on each day is set aside for people who require a quieter time at the event for example, those with autism, learning disabilities or sensory and communication disorders who would like to attend with their families.
The organisers also want to find out more about how the cost of living is affecting communities across Bolton including the challenges they are facing, the things they are having to do to make ends meet and what additional support they really need.
As part of the research attendees at the events will be asked for their views, plus a short survey will be posted online for people who could not attend to give their opinions which will help shape future support.
For more information about the cost of living events contact email@example.com or call 01204 331968.
For more general help visit www.bolton.gov.uk/costofliving.