Ahead of Christmas, Manchester City Council has set out what help is on offer for people struggling over the festive period.
Since the onset of the cost-of-living crisis it has been plain to see the difficulties that thousands of Mancunians have faced on a daily basis.
Council figures show that more than 100,000 households have been put at risk in some way due to the crisis. Whether that is accessing food, paying their bills or slipping into financial trouble.
In spite of the failings from central government in delivering tangible and lasting support for people in need, the Council has resolved to ensure that people can turn to us when they are in need.
In 2022, the Council implemented a cost-of-living advice line which residents could call if they were struggling. It could be for a range of issues – paying bills, debt advice, access to services, and food support – operators were and remain on the line to support anyone who needs help or advice. That number is still live and can be reached on 0800 023 2692.
Warm and Welcome Spaces, another initiative created in 2022, has been brought back this year. Should people need to take shelter in a warm, and judgement free location, they are again able to do so. All of Manchester’s libraries are open to them, for as long as they need. A range of other businesses and organisations have also put themselves forward for this scheme, with a full list found at www.warmwelcome.uk.
More than 15,000 Helping Hands advice guides, which detail what support is available for people during the winter, have been produced and will be available across the city in locations such as libraries, Sure Start Centres and Early Help Hubs.
Winter Warmth advice leaflets are also being made available, telling people how they can access support should they need help paying their heating bills, where they can go to stay warm for free in Manchester, and how to stay healthy during the cold weather.
‘Social Tariffs’ are also available for people who are in receipt of Universal Credit or Pension Credit, allowing them to access reduced price internet or mobile phone rates. More information on this can be found by visiting Ofcom's website at ofcom.org.uk/cheap-broadband.
For people with families, additional support has also been made available for those who struggle out of term time. The Holiday Activity Fund Programme runs through the holiday period, providing free activities and shared experiences for children aged 5 to 16. These activities will also provide a free meal throughout the day, filling a gap which would normally be provided via a free school meal.
Visit https://www.mcractive.com/activity/holiday-activity-in-manchester to find out more.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “It is very clear the damaging impact the cost-of-living crisis has had on communities across Manchester.
“It has made a deep impact on those already struggling, but as a Council we are determined to do what we can to alleviate the strain which people are under. In our city we take pride in taking care of one another, and that is exactly what we have done as a Council, in extending a raft of support measures to combat the cost-of-living crisis.
“A huge amount of work is in place to lift people out of poverty, and address the generational inequalities which continue to set people back. We have already invested more into communities which are in most need, and have expanded our services to meet this challenge.
“I would urge people who are struggling, especially during this part of the year to get in touch with the Council and access the support we are offering.”