Cherwell District Council is to outline its wide-ranging, targeted package of support to address the cost of living crisis at the meeting of its executive on Monday, 03 October.
If approved, the package will include:
Food vouchers – the council is making around £250,000 available to issue two £50 food vouchers to approximately 2,500 households currently experiencing significant hardships.
CHEEP (Cherwell Energy Efficiency Project) grants – the council is providing grants of up to £5,000, double the previous maximum amount, for private sector landlords to improve energy efficiency in their properties, many of which are rented to people on lower incomes.
Warm spaces – the council is working with local partners to provide warm spaces across the district, with venues available to drop into, enjoy the warmth, and meet people. The council is also looking to add activities and potential food offerings to these spaces.
Food Champion and Food Insecurity Working Group – the council has appointed Councillor Phil Chapman as its Food Champion. A Food Insecurity Working Group is also looking at how it can support people experiencing food insecurity.
Winter warmers – providing a warm meal and one to take away for those in need.
Brighter Futures – Brighter Futures in Banbury includes the long-standing cookery skills programme, which enables residents to learn how to make the best use of a slow cooker.
Better Housing Better Health – a programme to improve housing conditions for residents with long-term health concerns through telephone support and visits.
Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of the Council, said: “We know that many people in the district are struggling, and will struggle, with paying their fuel and food bills, and we want to do all that we can to help them. This cost of living support package, which complements the government initiatives already in place, targets those in greatest need.
“It is vital over the next few months that support is provided where and when it is needed most. We are already administering government support efficiently and effectively, making payments as quickly as possible, and we will do the same with our own cost of living support package.
“As a district council, we are close to our local communities, know what is needed and where, and we believe that this support package will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The council is already providing payments on the government’s behalf by administering the following schemes:
- The Council Tax Energy Rebate – a one-off £150 rebate to 50,000 households
- Discretionary Council Tax Energy Rebate – a £180 payment for 6,336 households
- Housing Benefit – £22.6m in 2022/23 to support 3,658 residents with their rent payments
- Discretionary Housing Payments – £30,000 providing additional support with rent payments
- Council Tax Support – supporting 6,271 residents with their Council Tax
- Household Support Fund – £255,000 to support those who need help with food and fuel bills