£3 million cost of living hardship fund agreed by Welsh council
Rhiannon James, Local Democracy Reporter
The chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council has said the authority wants to “wrap our arms around the community” during the cost of living crisis.
Cabinet members have agreed to allocate £3 million to a cost of living hardship fund as the council is aiming to get support to people before they reach a breaking point.
It has proposed to increase the number of food banks, reduce the cost of swimming lessons, and open council-owned facilities to provide hot evening meals to families.
It also intends to adopt schemes such as “warm the human not the home” by providing “warm packs” which include thick curtains, draft excluders, and warm clothes.
A report presented to Cabinet on Monday, September 26, stated: “The emphasis on support moving forward is striking the right balance between prevention and crisis support and doing the former based on data – reaching people before they get to or even near crisis point.”
The report revealed that 4,000 residents have been “directly supported” by the council in relation to the cost-of-living crisis so far. This includes £158,000 awarded to 45 community-led organisations to support those in fuel poverty.
Additionally, more than two million free meals have been delivered by the council to 7,298 children, and £1.45 million has been handed out to unpaid carers.
At the meeting, Chief Executive Christina Harrhy said the report showed that the council “already does a lot” and that it wants to build on this.
Some additional changes include the appointment of a cost-of-living co-ordinator and the opening of toy banks in the lead-up to Christmas.
A cost-of-living impact assessment will be undertaken to identify if the crisis is having a disproportionate effect on different groups and those already in poverty.
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