Council Helps Residents with 'Winter-Ready' Campaign
South Tyneside Council and its partners are getting ready to help those most at risk of suffering from cold weather this Winter.
Frontline workers, volunteers and key organisations are to be given a card prompting them to ask key questions of those considered most at risk, allowing them to signpost them to the required help and support.
The groups most at risk from cold weather include people aged 65 and older; babies and children under the age of five, people on a low income, those with a long-term health condition or disability, pregnant women and people who have a mental health condition.
Key factors such as whether people are on benefits or are eligible for free school meals, are in arrears or are recently bereaved, will be used to try to identify those most in need of support.
At last week's Anti-Poverty Summit, attended by almost 100 delegates across over 30 partners, the importance of encouraging people be 'winter-ready' was a key theme, particularly around the cost-of-living and health and wellbeing.
Councillor Paul Dean, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: "We want to make sure our most vulnerable residents are as 'Winter-ready' as possible. By having brief conversations with those most at risk about benefits, housing, vaccines, wider healthcare, social connectedness and emotional wellbeing, we will be able to signpost them accordingly to the support they need.
"There was a fantastic response to this idea at the Anti-Poverty Summit last week with many organisations - including food banks - signing up to use the card as part of their daily work."
A number of other suggestions were made at the Summit. One of these was to link training and skills provision through South Tyneside Works into the Community Food Bus, Family Hubs and Welcoming Places so that people accessing those spaces can also access training opportunities.
Attendees also agreed that closer partnership working was needed on benefit maximisation and awareness of key schemes such as Pension Credit and tax-free childcare. Partner leaflets with information on these will be shared more widely in places such as Family Hubs, schools and Welcoming Places.
A key theme to emerge from the Summit was the importance of the Welcoming Places and the need for them to continue. The Council and partners are looking at funding opportunities as research has found them to be incredibly valued by those using them.
The importance of listening to people with lived experience of poverty - including young people - was another key theme to emerge. Attendees agreed that it was vital that people share the trauma of living in poverty, such as through the Poverty Truth Commission, and that they are at the heart of decision-making.
Councillor Dean, added: "With more than 35 per cent of people living in poverty in South Tyneside, it is clear that there is still much to do.
"However, the partnership is working at pace and is clearly making a difference to the lives of so many people in the Borough.
"Going forward, we will continue to hold the Government to account, highlighting the truth around the scale and impact of poverty in South Tyneside and call for the resources that local authorities and particularly those in the voluntary sector need to be able to continue to provide support for those in need."
A list of Welcoming Places is available on the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/welcomingplaces
For help and support with the cost of living visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/costofliving
For more information on getting ready for Winter, visit https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/winterhealth