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Vital support remains available for residents struggling with costs of living

03 October 2022

Vital support remains on offer for residents in Cambridgeshire who are struggling with the rising costs of living.

The current cost of living crisis, exacerbated by the rise of energy prices this weekend, means some residents who have never needed assistance before, may not know where to turn for help.

Cambridgeshire County Council is fully committed to doing everything it can to help and has already supported thousands of people in need. With the council’s Household Support Fund soon to be extended, anyone who is struggling is urged to get in touch at the earliest opportunity.

Councillor Lucy Nethsingha, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We know this is an intensely difficult time, with even more people struggling with the cost of living right now. Even with the energy bill ‘cap’ which came into effect over the weekend, bills have risen out of all proportion to where they were even last winter.

“We are working extremely hard as a council to support people – either directly through the household support fund or extra help during the holidays for families with children, or via our partners where we are aiming to make sure that people don’t just get one off cash amount, but advice which can help them long term. This might be to make sure they claim everything they are entitled to, are aware of the social tariffs offered by major suppliers of energy or broadband, or are helped to manage debt or improve their employment prospects.

“We have got a lot of this information on our website,” confirmed Cllr Elisa Meschini, deputy leader of the Council. “But for those people not online we would encourage them to get in touch in person or by phone as we want to make sure that those in the most difficult situations are not left out of being able to access available sources of help.”

The council’s Household Support Fund (HSF) was launched in November to help people pay for food and energy bills. Since then, it has helped 35,192 people who are struggling, by issuing over £2.3 million in vouchers and a further £367K in non-voucher help. An extension of the HSF scheme is due to launch soon, with a full announcement to follow. More details about the HSF can be found here.

There are several schemes aimed at helping people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and provide support around heating and energy. The Cambridgeshire Home Energy Support Services (CHESS) provides help to households in Fenland, Huntingdonshire, East Cambs and Cambridge City. Households in South Cambs can receive a similar service from the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP). More details here. The council has also launched a new energy information guide to help and support residents with improving their energy efficiency, along with information about different energy options.

Over the coming weeks, district and city councils will identifying where they are offering warm spaces and other support for people affected by the crisis, more information can be found on their websites. Residents can also use their local library as a place to keep warm, access the internet and enjoy a variety of activities. Find your local library and more details about what’s on offer there here.

Families whose children are receiving free school meals will continue to receive vouchers of £15 per child per week during the half term and Christmas holidays – and these will be sent to them directly. If you want to check if your child may be eligible, there are more details here.

Further information about all our support schemes can be found here. For residents unable to access information online, please contact the council on 0345 045 5200