The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is promoting an emerging network of safe, warm spaces where people in need can go this winter, as part of helping those struggling with the rising cost of living.
While the area is overall a relatively prosperous place, everyone is feeling the financial pressure currently, particularly households on low incomes and in fuel poverty who are most vulnerable to extra costs, especially around fuel as winter approaches.
In the spring, the council with its partners launched ‘Here to Help’, a promotional campaign bringing together cost of living support and encouraging residents facing difficult decisions around food, rent or heating to visit www.rbwm.gov.uk/here-to-help or call 01628 683800 to see what help might be available.
As the days grow colder, the Royal Borough is reminding people in need that all local libraries are safe places for the community. During opening hours, people are welcome to use library facilities, explore the ‘Here to Help’ website on the public-access computers and speak with a librarian for advice around cost of living support and/or getting online.
The ‘Here to Help’ website has support and advice around energy and water bills, rent, council tax, food, childcare, school meals, benefits and more.
A number of partner organisations are also offering safe, warm spaces, along with advice and support, at a number of local venues. Visit www.rbwm.gov.uk/here-to-help for a map of the locations and further details.
Councillor Andrew Johnson, the council leader, said: “Many households in the UK are feeling the pinch right now, and some of our residents will worry about energy costs as they start to turn on their heating for the winter. We know this is going to be a challenging winter, and we want to ensure that everyone across our community has the financial resilience to cope.
“Since we launched ‘Here to Help’ back in May, the local and national support offer for cost of living has continued to grow. So if you’re struggling financially and facing difficult decisions then please seek help before you reach crisis point. Check the webpage, contact us, your landlord and energy supplier to see what might be available to you.
“Libraries have long served as safe places for the most vulnerable, and as part of an emerging network of venues from our community partners, they offer a safety net for those in need, somewhere to get advice and signposting to vital help, to ensure you can maintain your tenancy, stay warm at home and feed your family.”
‘Here to Help’ is run with the support of key partners including social landlords Abri and Housing Solutions, NHS Frimley, and voluntary and community sector partners, Foodshare Maidenhead, Windsor Foodshare, Driven Forward, The Baby Bank, Age UK, The Spoore, Merry and Rixman Foundation, Re:Charge R&R, Cranstoun, Citizens Advice, All Soul's Church in South Ascot, and Wraysbury and Horton Warm Winter Initiative.