Cost of living advice for communities
Some practical tips and signposting to help with our community's common money worries. By Natalia Perez, trustee, welfare advice specialist and White City Councillor
What are you hearing from residents about cost of living?
After the lockdowns we’ve started to run ‘surgeries’ for our constituents where they share the things that concern them. At the moment, residents are telling us that they’re worried that they won’t be able to pay for: food for their family; essentials like bread and pasta; and gas and electricity.
They’re also concerned about buying fresh food because of the electricity costs of keeping it in the fridge or cooking it, and about the costs of keeping medication in the fridge too.
What sort of advice are you giving them?
We’ve now set up a cost-of-living crisis team in Hammersmith and Fulham. The team provides advice about available services and support across the council and more widely. Residents can get in touch here, call 0800 917 6994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Another good source of information is the Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s website where there is information about benefits, paying your council tax, help with food, help for families with children, paying for your gas electricity and water, improving energy efficiency, help with broadband and phone packages, paying rent, along with contact details of local organisations that can give further advice.
If residents need urgent support with food, medicine, loneliness or isolation and or fuel payments, they should call our Community Connect team on 0800 145 6095.
What advice can you give to small community groups or start-ups at this time?
It’s really important to think about good governance and leadership, making sure that your board represents the community that you serve and has a clear understanding of the changing needs of the community that you serve during the cost-of-living crisis.
Regularly listen and engage with your beneficiaries. Monitor services and seek feedback to see if there are gaps in service provision that can be improved.
Think of the strategy too – have a clear map of where you want your community group or start-up to be three years from now to help you develop clear achievable yearly plans after the cost of living crisis.
Finally, find opportunities for collaboration and partnership work with other organisations and council services.
Find out more:
- Online support about cost of living: Hammersmith & Fulham’s Council’s website
- Personal support about cost of living: Contact the Cost-of-living crisis team
- For urgent queries about cost of living contact the council’s Community Connect team on 0800 145 6095
- More about Hammersmith United Charities’ grants for community organisations