Milton Keynes City Council has shared around £1m this winter to support local families and individuals to cope during the cost-of-living crisis.
The City Council has been helping residents struggling with everyday costs including energy and water bills, food, rent, mortgages and council tax. It has also set up a dedicated Warmth and Wellbeing helpline which around 300 people have called since it opened in November. Callers have received advice by an expert team on debt and bills, saving energy, and how to apply for grants to make a home better insulated and more energy efficient. As part of this, the team arranged 60 emergency fuel vouchers and connected five households to grants in order to repair or replace a broken boiler.
Local people can call freephone 0800 107 0044 to get expert advice from National Energy Foundation’s Better Housing Better Health team, who will assess their situation and suggest help including how to get better energy deals. The Foundation estimates that some residents could save as much as £115 a year by implementing its energy advice.
In October MK City Council declared a ‘cost-of-living’ emergency’ and set up a Winter Plan with funding for local initiatives that provide food and domestic essentials along with projects that can offset or reduce energy bills. Further details about the support available can be found on www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/cost-living-support
Cabinet Member for Tackling Social Inequalities, Cllr Jane Carr, says “The helpline has already supported so many people in need and we’re glad it’s serving its purpose. With the sharp rises in the cost-of-living we’re encouraging people that need help to reach out early and get support. We’re prepared to do everything in our power to get people the help they so desperately need and will be introducing further measures in our upcoming budget.”