Posted on Friday 11th November 2022
Staffordshire County Councillor Victoria Wilson
Members of the armed forces community who are worried about the cost of living pressures are being reminded that support is available.
Staffordshire County Council’s ‘Here to help’ campaign and dedicated webpages have information and advice with things like paying bills, food and essentials, funding for childcare, staying warm and helping others.
Members of the forces and their families can also access practical and financial support from various organisations including the Royal British Legion (RBL). The RBL’s Everyday Needs Grants programme is making grants of up to £2,400 available to Eligible applicants. Funding can be used to help with the costs of everyday essentials including energy costs, clothing and kitchen appliances. People can find out more at www.rbl.org.uk/costofliving.
Other armed forces charities such as SSAFA also offer support and the County Council’s online community support directory, Staffordshire Connects, is a one-stop shop for all things health and care in Staffordshire.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Staffordshire County Council said:
“I know that many of our armed forces communities will be worried about the rising cost of living and extra pressures on household budgets but I would like to reassure them that there is support available.
“In addition to our own Here to help campaign and webpages, our children’s centres and libraries, there is support available from local armed forces organisations working across the county. Getting help early can also make a big difference, so I would encourage families to get in touch.
“We continue to work with our partners to support our armed forces community and to encourage other organisations to pledge their support. The county council also signed the Armed Forces Covenant in May 2012, our promise to help integrate local armed forces as a valued part of Staffordshire’s communities.”
For armed forces families with young children, local children’s centres are a great resource with access to free activities along with information and signposting to local services and organisations.
Centre staff can provide information on free or subsidised childcare. For example, some working parents who are accessing a childminder, nursery or preschool and pay for childcare, could receive support of up to £2,000 each year. Families on a low income with a two-year-old could access up to 15 hours of funded childcare per week. All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours per week funded childcare. In some cases this can rise to 30 hours per week.
Staffordshire libraries are also a valuable source of information and staff and volunteers are always ready to help or signpost people to more specialist support available locally. They will also know about other county council projects like the Warmer Homes scheme and the Pre-loved School Uniform project that continue to help local families with the rising cost of living.
Further information and help with the cost of living pressures is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/heretohelp
. People can also visit their nearest community help point, library or children’s centre for support.