Warm hubs to help ease burden of cost of living crisis

Specialist Warm Hubs will be operated from community buildings across East Cambridgeshire to support vulnerable and isolated people, as well as those on lower incomes this winter.

East Cambridgeshire District Council, in partnership with South Cambs District Council, has appointed Cambridgeshire Acre to deliver the hubs as part of a basket of measures to address the national cost of living crisis. 

Each hub will offer a warm, friendly and inclusive environment with access to hot food, tea and coffee. They will also provide residents with somewhere to socialise, take part in activities and receive information on how to reduce bills, access financial support, and stay healthy and well.

It is expected the first hubs, which will be delivered by trained volunteers who are familiar with the needs of their local communities, will be operational from October onwards.

The hubs form part of a basket of measures put together by East Cambridgeshire District Council to help residents with the cost of living crisis.

The Council is keen to make sure everyone has the opportunity to access help when they need it, whether that is with heating their homes, accessing support grants or putting food on the table.

New Cost of Living pages on its website are jam-packed with suggestions and ideas on where to get help. 

Specifically they include advice on:

Government payments that help with the cost of living, for example, the one-off £650 'cost of living' payment to low-income households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits and a separate one-off payment of £300 to pensioner households

Charities and Support schemes, such as Cambridgeshire’s Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) which supports people facing unexpected financial difficulties. CLAS can provide information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure.

Support with energy costs. There are various grant schemes available to residents of East Cambs to increase the energy efficiency of your home, helping to bring down energy costs in the longer term. Visit our home energy efficiency grants webpage for more details. 

Help with food costs. The Cambridgeshire Household Support Fund has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food and household energy bills. Ely Foodbank also operates six centres in the East Cambs district, distributing emergency food parcels and other assistance.

Community groups such as The Baby Bank in Fordham, which collects baby goods to distribute to those in need, and Laptops4Learning, which supplies reconditioned laptops for educational purposes are just two organisations helping to lower costs for people locally.

Staying Healthy. The Council funds and partners with Healthy You, which offers a number of different health services to residents in East Cambs. These include programmes to stop smoking, boost your physical activity, eat more healthily, manage weight, prevent falls, and reduce alcohol consumption. We also work closely with the Vaccinators on Tour to assist people in getting COVID vaccinations and boosters.

Debt and money advice. At East Cambs District Council we offer advice at our weekday drop in sessions at the council offices Monday to Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm.You can call us for advice on 01353 665555 or to book an appointment. 

Cllr Julia Huffer, who chairs the Council’s Operational Services Committee, said:

“The rising cost of living is having an impact on everyone and we understand that many residents may feel they are struggling to cope. We are really fortunate in East Cambs because we have strong partnerships in place which rally round to provide help as it’s needed."

“If you are worried about the cost of living and feel you would benefit from some advice and practical support, then please do visit our website. There are many forms of help available to residents, from benefits and grants, through to discounts, food vouchers and help with managing debt and staying healthy.”

The Council keeps the information on the Cost of Living pages Cost of Living | East Cambridgeshire District Council (eastcambs.gov.uk) on its website updated with all new developments, but if you feel you would like to speak to someone for advice please call us on 01353 665555, or call into our weekday drop in sessions at the council offices Monday to Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm.