Councillor Veronica Jones is Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for public health and wellbeing. Addressing inequality is a key priority of Northumberland Conservatives and helping the county’s most vulnerable residents is key to this.
Northumberland County Council’s ‘Northumberland Communities Together’ is a small team providing a massive amount of help and support for our most vulnerable residents.
Formed early in 2020 to provide support for those residents who needed to shield at home during Covid, it brought together staff from the adult services team and the Council’s locality coordinators, who work closely with the voluntary organisations in their area to help make communities stronger. Together, they made sure that those who had to shield had everything they needed, and they worked closely with local volunteers so that that food, medicine and other necessities reached those who weren’t able to leave their home.
Today, Northumberland Communities Together underlines the Council’s firm commitment to support community resilience through these challenging times. As well as direct support to households, the Council also helps voluntary and community organisations to lead positive change in communities. Last year’s figures for 2022/23 show that the NCT team awarded over £600,000 to voluntary groups in Northumberland.
During the last three years, NCT became the lead for receiving the grant funding from the government to support vulnerable households, and for making sure that it went to the people who needed it most, particularly the money given during school holidays to those families whose children would normally receive free school meals. 94% of families offered the grant took this up in the last summer holidays.
As well as providing support for meals during the school holidays, NCT provided a full programme of activities for children from vulnerable households and children with special educational needs.
Figures just published, show at the end of the year for 2022/23, NCT received almost 12000 requests for help and distributed grants of £4,750,00 plus to over 90,000 vulnerable households. As well as helping households direct, they also awarded grants to voluntary and community organisations amounting to over £600,000.
The communities and partners we work with are clearly saying that the cost of living crisis is likely to place increased pressure on residents this year, so NCT with partners will be delivering over 100 events over the county from October to March to ensure we reach as many residents as possible, to provide the help, advice and support residents need to stay healthy and well over winter
As the weather gets colder, once again community venues will be opening as places where people can meet and connect with others in a warm and friendly environment. One of these is the Warm spaces. Warm space is an offer of a welcoming local place where people can pop in and enjoy a warm welcome, warm drink and can be connected to other support should they need it. A network of libraries, community centres, village halls, churches and cafes will be providing a warm welcome this winter in addition to the community hubs in Cramlington and Newbiggin. Each welcome group is different so there is always something for everyone and residents can come and spend time quietly or meet other people in the community for a chat.
Do you know someone in need? Call Northumberland Communities Together on 01670 620015.