Struggling households to be helped using new Cost of Living Roadmap

Released: Tuesday, 06 September 2022

Extra support for food distribution, early intervention services for households facing debt and warm places for people struggling to keep their homes heated are part of a plan to tackle Worthing's cost of living crisis.

A Cost of Living Roadmap drawn up by Worthing Borough Council sets out how it and other agencies will work together to provide the most support possible to those in the town who are battling just to get by.

Adur & Worthing Councils have committed £100,000 to the new approach, which is designed to help support households to get the benefits they are entitled to, to help community groups to help those most in need and to provide more assistance to those on the lowest incomes.

The initiatives in the roadmap have been developed with partners from the voluntary and community sector, West Sussex County Council and health organisations, to try to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis for those in Worthing. Although the Council is co-ordinating the plan, its main role is helping residents get the support they need from the partners.

Among the initiatives are:

  • Funding to support emergency food distribution, including an initial £25,000 from the Councils immediately to help foodbanks
  • Developing a food poverty action plan, which includes encouraging businesses to provide meals to foodbanks and reducing food waste
  • Identifying with partners 'warm spaces' where residents unable to pay for heating can go to shelter from the winter cold
  • Holding 'pop up' community information events in Worthing to make sure people know how to access cost of living support.

Over the longer term, Worthing Borough Council is looking at how it could support interest-free loans to those who currently cannot get help from banks, building societies or other lenders, to extend its Proactive scheme to give financial support to residents and to offer grants to make homes more energy efficient.

In July the Council declared a cost of living emergency because of the impact rising costs and inflation were disproportionately having on the less well off in Worthing.

Council data collected in June suggests that more than 3,000 households in Worthing were defined as living in fuel poverty. This means that their homes are not energy efficient and that heating them leaves them below the government's poverty line.

More than 6,000 households were in water poverty (meaning their homes cannot be supplied with water or sewage pipes at a reasonable cost) and almost 1,000 were living in food poverty (meaning they cannot afford food to make up a healthy diet). The number of families whose income no longer even covers the cost of their accommodation was also increasing.

However since June, the impact of inflation on households has meant that the true number of people in dire need of help is likely to be far greater - and will only get worse as fuel prices rise even further.

Cllr Carl Walker, the Deputy Leader of the Council, said:

“Thousands of Worthing households have found themselves in poverty through no fault of their own and it is essential that we act now to help them.

“This crisis can only be tackled through serious national government intervention and local agencies working together with the community, to identify and assist those who desperately need the support outlined by the roadmap.

“We are not going to get through this cost of living crisis as a society unless we all come together to help those who have been left unable to help themselves.”

The roadmap will be considered by Worthing's Joint Strategic Sub-Committee this evening (Tuesday, 6th September 2022).

(PR22-168)

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Page last updated: 05 October 2022

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