A new package of support for residents in Bury struggling with the cost of living is available.

There is help on hand to increase energy efficiency, provide free school meals during holidays, improve skills and job opportunities, provide crisis payments, and reach people without online access.

The borough has been awarded just over £3m from the government’s Household Support Fund for the year until March 2024, to provide emergency support and to tackle longer term issues.

The funding is being used to:

• Provide funding opportunities to support community and voluntary groups including food banks and pantries and those providing crisis support.

• Support 6,900 pupils who receive free school meals during the school holidays, including the recent summer break.

• Target crisis payments to households most in need, especially those who aren't eligible other benefits.

• Support people with their skills and employment including expanding the Working Wardrobe scheme, which helps people with interviews.

• Help people with their digital skills and to be able to get online.

• Provide energy efficient measures for households in need, particularly for owner occupiers and privately rented properties.

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Cllr Richard Gold, cabinet member for finance and communities at the council, said: “The cost of living crisis is still affecting people and this support is still needed.

“Interest rates have constantly risen and is now at 5.25 per cent, increasing mortgage payments and other debts that people have to pay.

“Energy prices remain high and the Energy Bills Support Scheme where everyone received £67 per month has come to an end.

“Prices continue to rise as inflation affects how much we all pay for household goods.

“Despite the challenges we will continue to target support towards the most needy and vulnerable in our society – this is what residents have repeatedly told us should be our first priority.

“The government’s Household Support Fund provides much needed resources for us to be able to support vulnerable residents.

“But on top of this the council has also committed £400,000 from our budget to provide extra support including grants to households who are financially struggling and not eligible for the current council tax support, help for children in care and care leavers with cost of living, and support for traders on Bury Market, our ‘jewel in the crown’, so that they can keep their costs low to benefit customers and more.

“We are also helping Bury Voluntary and Community Faith Alliance (VCFA) with its vital work supporting the community and voluntary sector and those groups within it.”

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If anyone needs further support, see the council’s website or contact 0161 253 5400.