District Council sets out additional proposals to support people with the Cost of Living Crisis

Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Newark and Sherwood District Council is set to agree a number of additional measures to support tenants, residents and local businesses with the cost of living crisis.

The Council has already supported residents through interventions such as: shortening the processing times for business rate relief so businesses receive their money more quickly; hosting a “Fuelling You with Support” event on 30 November 2022, which brought together partners and agencies to provide a single event for residents to access support and advice; continuing the ‘No Eviction Pledge,’ which was introduced during the pandemic, and pledges that the District Council will not pursue eviction whilst the tenant(s) are engaging with us and working with us to reduce their debt; and continuing ‘Getting to Know You’ visits at the start of a tenancy, involving a conversation about a new tenant(s) situation and providing an opportunity to signpost for support where appropriate. As an employer, the District Council has also been providing support to its staff.

A range of additional proposals will be recommended to Councillors at the District Council’s Cabinet Meeting on 21 February, funded by a new and dedicated fund of £150,000. 

Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Staff from across the entire District Council have been working hard to put these proposals together as we desperately want to do all we can to support the people living and working in our district.

“We are all feeling the rising cost of interest rates, increased costs for services, fuel, energy and food – but the measures being proposed, if approved, should complement the support we are already providing to those most in need by introducing even more measures from a wide range of services.”

Some of the initiatives being proposed include:

  • Fuel vouchers: Following liaison with Citizens Advice (CA), it is proposed to provide fuel vouchers as part of their existing fuel bank scheme. CA would allocate the vouchers based on an assessment of need.
  • Food and clothing vouchers: Distributing supermarket vouchers through food banks and food clubs across the district to be used for essential items such as school uniforms, warm clothes and food.
  • Awareness raising and signposting for support: To create a dedicated online hub for all information on support and services available on the District Council website and promote this via a variety of different channels.
  • Debt advice and benefit maximisation: To provide a new mobile service in local communities offering advice on how to manage debt and ensure take-up of benefits.
  • Support to local food clubs: A voucher scheme so that households in need who cannot afford the £3.50 for a food parcel can receive an emergency voucher from their local food club. This will be limited to no more than three times in a year.
  • Webinars for Businesses: Offering ‘help from the business experts’ webinars with free access to specialist advice to support the challenges local businesses are facing with the rising cost of living.
  • Social Media ‘shop local’ campaign: A £15,000 campaign to support local retailers by encouraging residents to shop locally.
  • Localised Council Tax Support take up trial: A trial of out of hours home visits to support tenants with completing a Council Tax Support application form.
  • Household and hygiene packs: Packs to be made available through, for example, local hubs, food clubs, referrals and schools.
  • Hygiene packs would include sanitary products, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and brushes, deodorant, shower gel and toilet rolls, etc.
  • Household packs would include washing up liquid, bleach, cleaning cloth/sponge, anti-bacterial spray and washing powder/eco egg.

For more information on support available, visit: https://www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/heretohelp/.