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WILTSHIRE Council is coordinating information on what community facilities and services are being provided in the county to support people through the cost of living challenges, as it distributes the latest funding from the Household Support Fund, continues to plan for the introduction of its own warm spaces and support those residents who are already receiving support from the council.
The council has produced an interactive map, available on its website, so that in a few clicks people can quickly find what warm spaces and community food providers are available in their local area. It has sent out surveys to its local groups, contacts and networks to gather as much information as possible, so it can be collated to help residents.
Plans are also gathering pace for Wiltshire Council to introduce its own warm spaces in its building such as libraries. Wiltshire Council libraries and its other public buildings are already welcoming environments for anyone who needs them, but the council is looking to ensure its warm spaces have relevant facilities in place, where possible, to provide extra support if required.
The council has also collated information and guidance on a variety of cost of living related topics such as energy, council tax and benefits, housing information, the support of local partner agencies, and advice on mental health. There is also a section dedicated to support and advice for businesses. The council’s cost of living support information can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living and these pages will be updated regularly.
The surveys to establish what warm spaces and community food providers there are in the county can also be found on the webpage, and people are welcome to complete them if they are involved in such projects. Wiltshire Council’s Area Boards will also do what they can do to support communities during the cost of living crisis.
This includes gathering vital information on the impact of the situation locally and the ability to fund cost of living-related projects through its older and vulnerable adults funding strand, subject to the simple application process.
Cllr Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Just as we saw during the pandemic, residents and communities up and down the county are joining forces to help people in need and look out for one another. We know how tiring it is that such resolve is required again, but we’ll do what we can to guide people through this very challenging time. “It’s difficult to say with much certainty what impact people and businesses will feel during the rising cost of living, but the work and preparation we do now will help us all as the situation develops. We are working hard to get our own warm spaces up and running, which will be informed by the data collection we’re doing, and we are also collaborating with partners to look at any other ways to support people.”