Council provides high levels of support to residents during cost of living crisis

Children, low-income pensionable households, carers and many others have benefited from Oxfordshire County Council’s cost of living crisis support schemes for residents over the winter of 2022/3 and afterwards.

The support, agreed in September 2022, has been provided in addition to national resources provided through the Household Support Fund (HSF) including a varied programme of support for energy saving measures through the Better Housing Better Health Programme.

High levels of resources have also been provided to local voluntary and community sector (VCS) services.

Cllr Liz Leffman, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We’re proud of the support that’s been given to residents at this very difficult time. We believe it has made a real difference at a time when energy bills, food costs and other expenses have been spiralling due to the well documented inflationary pressures in the economy.”

Cllr Michael O’Connor, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Inequalities, added: “Resource and effort are important but so is coordination. By working together with many organisations we really have made a difference in these tough times and we’re grateful for the work done by those partners all over the county.

“We do have the resources in place to be able to provide similar levels of support to vulnerable residents in 2023/4 and plans are being laid down to do just that.”

Support provided has included:

  • Families of 15,000 children eligible for free school meals in term time being supported with £15 each per week over the school holidays
  • 2,000 early years children being paid a grant of £60 for winter 2022/23.
  • 11,000 low-income pensionable households each being awarded £85 with a 90 per cent uptake.
  • 8,000 people being helped by emergency welfare schemes covering community food services and application-based emergency support. This included 656 pensioner households.
  • 500 foster carers and similar and 78 shared lives carers were given a £200 grant towards increased energy and food costs.
  • £5,000 was provided to asylum seekers for basic clothing and other personal items not available through the voluntary and community sector
  • A total of 105 projects being supported by the council’s Community Building Energy Support Scheme helping voluntary and community sector organisations with energy costs.
  • 41 projects were funded by Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s cost of living grant to help community organisations tackle the cost of living and build resilience.
  • A £210,000 grant was awarded to Citizens Advice to maintain debt and benefits advice services.

The council has also supported advisory agencies in the voluntary and community sector and on 1 June launched a new Resident Support Scheme which has already supported 160 Oxfordshire households.

There’s lots more support in the pipeline and for more information visit the county council’s website.