A scheme to support the people hardest hit by the cost of living crisis has delivered £500,000-plus of cash benefits in its first three months.
The Mind and Money Support Scheme was launched as part of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s £2m Better Off Support (BOS) programme to help the Liverpool City Region’s most vulnerable residents, and The Women’s Organisation, Vauxhall Law Centre, Pennysmart and Citizens Advice are helping to maximise the impact of the scheme.
Professor Maggie O’Carroll, Chief Executive of The Women’s Organisation, believes the three-year scheme – targeted at residents across the Liverpool City Region – is having a big impact on those most in need, and the benefits can already be seen.
“The astronomical rise in the cost of living has resulted in people experiencing severe difficulty when trying to balance their household budgets.
“Financial resilience, skills and information are hugely important in helping navigate and minimise the impact of rapidly rising costs.
“The Mind and Money is supporting LCR residents with energy efficiency support, income maximisation, financial and personal confidence and debt reduction and we’re delighted to be involved in something that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The scheme offers practical support, advice and financial resilience education for people across areas of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.
In the first three months, 520 people have been supported with issues such as income maximization, debt management, fuel and food.
“This support is needed urgently: people are in real difficulty now, and the service partnership are working hard to get support to the community,” added Prof O’Carroll, whose organisation campaigns for equality and delivers a wide range of programmes of support around areas such as enterprise, confidence and resilience, wellbeing, and employment and training.
The service is aimed at supporting people in crisis but is also designed to help them develop their long-term financial resilience. To date support people with crisis issues, with over quarter of million pounds of debt written off so far, and £440,000 of debt being managed.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“The measure of any decent society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. With the cost of living crisis putting a bigger and bigger strain on people’s outgoings, mental health and wellbeing, I want to help ease the burden for our local residents.
“Devolution is giving areas like ours the opportunity to chart our own course and invest in programmes that will make a real, positive difference to local people’s lives. We’re equipping our residents with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate the cost of living crisis, knowing that our team will be beside them every step of the way. This is the radical kindness that we’re pioneering locally in action.”
The programme follows a report mapping out the scale of food poverty across the city region – with food banks unable to meet rising demand due to the cost of living crisis.
Access to the help is made through key referral points such as GPs, mental health and other community and public health organisations.
The Mind and Money £2m funding comes from Mayor Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) allocation.