COST OF LIVING
Hampshire County Council update October 2022
Please note, this information is accurate at the time of writing.
The information below sets out the position the Local Authority is taking in respect of supporting Hampshire residents
during the ‘cost of living’ crisis. It is designed to provide you with a range of guidance in one helpful overview, so you
can signpost individuals, as well as community organisations, to the available advice and support which may help
during the growing pressure on household budgets.
The priority for the County Council is to ensure local residents are making the most of the wide range of
information and support services already available – and to make it easy for them to find the advice they need.
A working group, led by County Council officers, is ensuring co-ordination with district and borough councils, as
well as local community and voluntary networks. This is helping to avoid any unnecessary duplication of effort.
Keep Warm Keep Well (KWKW)
In early October, the Local Authority launched the Keep Warm Keep Well web pages:
These pages bring together a variety of help and information, such as advice for
keeping homes warm and coping with debt, details about meals on wheels and school
meals, as well as advice for maintaining physical and mental wellbeing during
challenging times. Below is an overview of the web page content with signposting
Our library network offers warm and welcoming spaces for anyone needing a place to
spend some time, connect with others, or to work or study. Libraries provide a safe and
inclusive community space, free to use without judgement. Libraries are promoting
usual events and activities and are working with communities, volunteers and partners
to meet potential demand. Throughout October libraries are hosting a cost-of-living
event in each district of Hampshire bringing together a range of partners to support
customers in need. Further details are being communicated locally by individual
Libraries are also providing some targeted support with the distribution of Warm Bags
and Food Vouchers through the Household Support Fund and will be introducing Chat
About sessions across their network in November.
A press release was recently issued with further information about warm and welcome
Food and essentials
Families struggling with the cost of essentials - such as food and fuel - are encouraged
to visit the connect4communities website. This is where they will find details about the
support on offer. Families are also invited to check their eligibility for free school meals.
Fuel and energy
Keeping homes warm is essential because it helps protect health and wellbeing.
Residents can get advice for keeping homes at optimum temperatures from the County
Council commissioned Hitting the Cold Spots helpline. Anyone struggling to pay bills is
urged to speak with their supplier first and, if they still need support, to contact their
local Citizens Advice. Further details about the help that is available can be found on
the Government's website.
Money and debt
At this time, more Hampshire residents are likely to be experiencing debt and money
worries. Those who are struggling to cope can find a wealth of advice and guidance
from Connect to Support Hampshire as well as Citizens Advice. Some people might
also be eligible for a Council Tax reduction. For anyone receiving treatment following a
mental health crisis who is also in debt, the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme can offer a
reprieve from financial burdens.
Staying well and resilient
There are several tools available to help residents look after themselves during difficult
times. The NHS has some top tips for keeping well over winter, and both Connect to
Support Hampshire and our Mental Wellbeing Hampshire website, link to sources of
support, specialist help and money advice. People eligible for their COVID-19 autumn
booster and flu jab are being encouraged to take these up as soon as they are invited.
Grants for community organisations
Hampshire County Council offers a range of grants to community organisations working
with local residents to support their physical and mental wellbeing. These grants may
provide assistance in supporting those organisations working with people who are most
at risk from the impact of the current crisis.
In particular, the Leader’s Community Grant Fund now contains provision for
community organisations, Parish and Town Councils to apply for small grants of
up to £5,000 to support communities, for example by setting up a Warm Space.
Further information is available on the dedicated web pages.