As temperatures continue to drop, Milton Keynes City Council is encouraging local people to call its ‘Warmth and Wellbeing Helpline’.
The free service offers advice to residents on how to get support with soaring energy costs, as part of a package of assistance set out in the City Council’s £3.3m Cost of Living Crisis Winter Plan.
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, and how to apply for grants to make a home better insulated and more energy efficient.
The Foundation estimates that some residents could save as much as £115 a year by implementing its advice.
The helpline team can also advise on wider issues such as avoiding debt, loneliness, and accessibility. An aftercare service ensures people are offered continued support.
The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm.
Cllr Jane Carr, Cabinet Member for Tackling Inequalities and Child Poverty: “People should not be forced to choose between heating their homes and having a hot meal. We’ve still got £700,000 of support available for local people who may be struggling for food or energy.
"We’re actively looking for those people who can most benefit from the extra help. Our helpline provides practical advice alongside signposting back to us where appropriate. Please pass this number on to anyone you know in MK who may be struggling.”
MK City Council has declared a ‘cost-of-living emergency’ and has already allocated more than £18m in support for struggling residents. Its Winter Plan includes extra funding for local projects that provide food or domestic essentials or that can offset or reduce energy bills.
The MK Foodbank is creating 88 new ‘top up shops’ and the City Council is providing supermarket vouchers to hungry families during school holidays.