In response to the growing cost of living crisis Hounslow Council is launching a comprehensive programme of support to help residents struggling this winter.
Published: Tuesday, 18th October 2022
With inflation at a 40-year-high, interest rates rising and the energy price cap increasing, many residents will be worrying about how they will heat their homes and make ends meet in the coming months.
As the temperature starts to drop, Hounslow Council is opening a network of warm spaces across the borough to help people who cannot afford to keep the heating on.
Everyone is welcome to come whenever they are open and will be able to have a hot drink, use the wifi and relax. They will also be able to find out where to go for help on a range of issues, take part in an activity, learn new skills and connect with others.
The warm spaces will open in libraries initially from Monday, 24 October, with plans being developed to extend the scheme to some leisure centres. The council is also collaborating with voluntary organisations about using their facilities too.
Council Leader, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, said: “With the continued threat of Covid-19 and flu season upon us, I would urge people to make sure they are doing all they can to stay well this winter.
"Nobody should be exposed to freezing temperatures in their own homes. Please look out for information about our warm spaces, and make sure you protect yourself, your family, and our NHS this winter by getting fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and flu.
"The last thing anyone needs this winter is to be suffering from avoidable seasonal viruses.”
Making it easier to find support
Following the success of the borough’s first ever Cost of Living Marketplace in September, the Council has announced details of further events taking place over the next two months, with more sessions planned right through to April 2023.
Working with partners in the community and voluntary sector, the Council is planning around thirty events where residents can get tailored advice and find out about the range of services and benefits available to them. From employment and training support, and help with maximising benefits to dealing with food poverty or support managing debt, there will be a wide range of support available.
The events will vary in size from major roadshows with dozens of partners providing advice, to smaller sessions led by the Council’s Community Solutions team and key partners.
Councillor Shivraj Grewal, Cabinet Member for Communities and Equalities, said: “We know this winter will be an extremely difficult time for many people in our borough, including families who have never struggled with money before. It’s incredibly important that we rise to this challenge and ensure we provide people with support so that they can access the help and advice they need.
“Our first Cost of Living Marketplace event successfully helped over a hundred people find out about the support available to them and I’m pleased that we can now roll out more events of various sizes at different times and locations across Hounslow.”
Araba, a resident from Heston, who attended the first Marketplace event, commented: “Lots of people are worrying about how they’re going to cope with energy bills in the winter. It’s about letting people know about the help that’s out there. It gives people the information and therefore the confidence to cope.”
Kate Burling from Crosslight Advice, debt specialists, who offered support at the Marketplace at Hounslow House, said: “It’s a great opportunity for us to signpost some of our clients to other organisations, who can also find out a little bit more about what we do so they feel confident about referring people across to us if they need debt advice.”