Cost of living crisis: how we’re taking action for you

One of the areas in Lea Bridge Library Warm Space which includes comfortable seating and somewhere for residents to relax
Published: 19 January 2023
Filed under: Communications

To help support our residents with the cost-of-living crisis, we have invested £4 million in our cost-of-living response, which includes direct financial support, support with retrofitting homes, and investment in community initiatives. We’re tackling the crisis to make sure children are warm and fed, helping residents to lower their bills but keep homes warm, get financial support and get support to access new jobs and skills.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Grace Williams shared: ‘We know things are particularly difficult this winter and we want residents to know we’re here for them. We’ll continue to act against the cost-of-living crisis on their behalf and are working hard to make sure residents know where they can get support.’

Here is an update on how we’re tackling this very important issue:

Children are warm and fed​

We’re continuing to make sure 11,000 families get the additional support they need to keep young people warm and fed this winter.

We provided £100,000 to all schools, to support vulnerable families with emerging needs in the period after Christmas and the New Year. This is mostly being used toward food, energy and water, and wider essentials.

Schools have also been given over 11,000 free school meal vouchers and distributed over £300,000 of funding in a variety of ways, to make sure young people can access food when they need it. This support includes:​

​Schools are already reporting added benefits of providing free breakfast including, better attendance, readiness to learn, more engagement in morning lessons, and an increase in punctuality.

Lower bills, warmer homes​

We set out to improve the energy efficiency of over 2,000 households, saving residents money on their energy bills and reducing carbon impact. Our team has installed retrofit measures in 428 households so far, while over 400 people have collected materials to install the measures themselves.

A safety net for all

Over £1m of financial relief has been provided to support residents who are struggling to cover food, energy, and other essential costs.

So far, we have delivered over £800k of direct payments and provided £300k for community-led initiatives. Some of these initiatives include:

  • 46 Winter Spaces were established in Council and community settings. We have also worked with groups in the North of the borough to create six additional Winter Spaces. Since launching, there have been over 80,000 visits to the Winter Spaces online directory.
  • Citizens Advice Waltham Forest are processing and distributing 500 food and utilities vouchers through our community front door scheme. An additional 230 vouchers will be distributed through other Voluntary and Community sector partners by March 2023.
  • 1000 blankets and items of warm clothing have also been distributed through food banks and Age UK in partnership with the Council.
  • Council Tax Energy Bills support was paid to 101,633 households.

Growth, jobs, and skills

We set out to have over 350 residents into new roles of work and so far, have supported 191 residents into employment.

Our Jobs Construction Academy, providing opportunities in construction, now has 96 vacancies advertised, 87 residents screened, and 13 jobs secured. Rapid Academies (Education, Security, Hospitality & Catering) has 116 Employers engaged, 215 managed vacancies, 463 candidates registered, 213 candidates trained, and 124 candidates placed with a 56% rate into employment.

All further information and guidance can be found on our Cost-of-living support: your crisis, our action page. Where we will continue to update and support residents to make ends meet during this crisis.