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Powys website to show where people can find help to deal with cost of living crisis

A WEBSITE is being built to show Powys people where and how they can access help to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

At a meeting on Monday, October 3, an update on how preparations to provide a network of warm spaces across Powys to help residents over the chilly winter months, was given to members of the Public Service Board.

Powys County Council’s Andrea Mansfield is coordinating the authority’s response to the cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Mansfield told the board that the council had received 35 responses after asking for expressions of interest from organisations that could provide a warm space for residents this winter.

Ms Mansfield said:

“We are expecting that to grow after the First Minister announced on September 29 that there will be £1million funding available to provide warm spaces in Wales.

“We’re waiting for more information on that.

“We have a web page under construction which is going to bring together all of this information, about the financial support, and people can access it directly from the landing page on our website.

“We’re also putting together and easy to use map which will show where our warm spaces are once, they are all set up, and information on foodbanks.

“So that at a glance people can see very clearly what support is available.”

Welsh Government economic operations director Duncan Hamer asked about the level of enquiries for help the council is receiving.

He also asked whether the volume of calls had “calmed down” since the UK Government announced it would cap energy bills at an average of £2,500 per household for two years, but only six months for businesses.

Mr Hamer said that the businesses were telling the Welsh Government that six months relief was “not enough” and they were fearful of the “next cliff edge.”

Ms Mansfield told the board that they were getting lots of calls from businesses that are: “crying out for support.”

PAVO (Powys Association of Volunteer Organisations) chief executive, Carl Cooper said:  “Some of our key organisations are experiencing a very significant rise in enquires and demand.

Powys CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) has seen a 40 per cent increase of requests for help in the last three in relation to debt, driven largely by the cost-of-living crisis.”

Powys council leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt who chaired the meeting, said:

“Ensuring that people know what financial support is available to them is the biggest area of confusion for the public.

“It’s extraordinarily complex, there seem to be grant announcements from government constantly – we have to find a way of simplifying the message and find a way of doing that on our websites collectively.”

PSB members will meet again later this month to work on the detail of the plans for winter.

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