In the face of high inflation, escalating energy costs and increases in rent and mortgage payments many people are really struggling to make ends meet this autumn, writes Cllr Amanda de Ryk.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to juggle everyday priorities like heating homes, feeding families and paying rent and other bills.
As a council we are already seeing the effects of this cost of living crisis in rising numbers of people facing homelessness, an exponential rise in food bank referrals and record numbers of people seeking advice about debt relief.
We know that we can’t solve this crisis alone but we want to do whatever we can to help.
As a first step we have launched a borough-wide Cost of Living partnership with Lewisham’s brilliant charity and third sectors.
This week we are opening Warm Welcome centres in our libraries, but other businesses and partners are doing the same.
Warm Welcomes are places where residents in every part of the borough can go to be warm but there are other activities and offers running alongside.
Lewisham Local (lewishamlocal.com) has published a map of where the Warm Welcome centres are and it will be constantly updated as new community partners and offers of help come on board.
We are also keen to help residents make sure they are getting every benefit they are entitled to so, along with advice partners like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, we are expanding our advice and support services.
We know that most of our residents are in work, they are just not earning enough to meet the increase in costs so we are also planning to offer jobs and skills advice in the Warm Welcome Services.
There is lots more information and help available through our dedicated cost of living support pages: https://lewisham.gov.uk/support
Lewisham Local adds: Community groups are coming together to offer spaces where people can pop in free of charge. All welcomes are currently different, some may be providing hot drinks, others may be providing hot food, others may be providing social activities and additional support. Check the Warm Welcomes map https://www.lewishamlocal.com/lewisham-warm-spaces/ to find your nearest space and get more information.
Check each listing for an overview of opening times and services provided. Lewisham Council’s libraries are also open as Warm Welcomes. These are included on the Warm Welcomes map below and on the Council’s website to find your nearest library and see their opening times.