The Finance Minister visited the Old Chapel warm space in Tenby yesterday to hear more about how local government and the voluntary sector are working together to support residents struggling with the cost-of-living.
Keep Warm Keep Well Pembrokeshire connects people to local information and support including warm hubs, hot meals, community activities, plus energy, money and debt advice. The programme is led by the Pembrokeshire Community Hub in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) and a variety of other organisations.
Sue Leonard, PAVS Chief Officer explained:
“The fact that we have worked closely with statutory partners over many years in terms of community-led preventions means that we have the infrastructure and partnerships in place to respond quickly when needed.
“The Community Hub and the Keep Warm, Keep Well delivery partners mobilised very quickly to provide a single point of contact for anyone needing help and support. Our message is simple – one call, that’s all. I’d like to thank all our delivery partners and the network of community buildings offering warm welcome spaces for everything they have done to help people over the past few months.”
More than 700 warm hubs have been set up across Wales this winter, with Welsh Government funding helping local authorities build on existing networks. This investment is part of a wider £1.6 billion Welsh Government package of targeted cost-of-living support provided this financial year, which includes universal programmes to tackle poverty and put money back in people’s pockets.
One of the focusses of the final 2023-2024 budget passed by the Senedd earlier this week was support for those households facing the most pressure. This included a further £18.8million for our Discretionary Assistance Fund, to continue to provide emergency support payments to cover essentials such as rent and bills.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:
“I would encourage anyone who is unsure about what help is available to visit centres such as this one, or contact the Pembrokeshire Community Hub on 01437 723660. They can also call Advicelink Cymru to make sure they don’t miss out on support they are entitled to. We are working closely with local government and the voluntary sector to ensure support is available across Wales.”
Ahead of next week’s Spring Budget, the minister wrote a letter to Jeremy Hunt to suggest a number of practical actions the Chancellor could take to help people, including abolishing standing charges on pre-payment meters and increasing Local Housing Allowance rates.
The minister added:
“Unfortunately, we know that those who can least afford it are being hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis. That is why support for the most vulnerable was at the heart of our budget. And that is why I have urged the Chancellor to use the welfare and tax levers available to him to help those struggling the most with energy costs, housing needs and welfare benefits.”