By Joshua Robinson –
People struggling with rising bills and costs across West Yorkshire will benefit from nearly £2 million in further cost-of-living support.
This comes as the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, launches the second round of her Cost of Living Emergency Fund, following the successful delivery of £1 million to over 6,000 households – more than double the initial target of 3,000.
The Mayor will work with the region’s five local authorities to distribute £1.9m of grant funding to local charities and voluntary organisations, all working to support the hardest hit of the crisis.
The emergency fund was first launched by the Mayor in October 2022, to support frontline community services helping people to meet basic needs through the Winter, such as by providing food, warmth, mental health support, and emergency debt advice.
The new funding will allow charities and community groups to continue developing new and innovative approaches to the cost of living crisis, ramping up support for vulnerable households faced with unprecedented and unaffordable living costs.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Our cost of living support demonstrates the power of devolution, as we work with local authorities and charities across the region to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
“We’ve successfully supported thousands of struggling households and our region’s brilliant charities to do their important work with the most vulnerable following a drop in donations.”
Tracy Brabin added: “We will continue to work with our dedicated partners to support all our communities through the cost of living crisis, as we build a brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”
Halifax-based homelessness charity Happy Days UK is one of the charities in West Yorkshire that will benefit from the new round of support. They have also recently received over £7,000 of funding seized from criminals, through Mayor Brabin’s Safer Communities Fund.
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Happy Days is one of the key organisations working with Calderdale Council and partners on cost-of-living support and anti-poverty work in Calderdale. The charity received local cost of living funds in December 2022.
Mayor Brabin and Cllr Sarah Courtney, Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and the Voluntary Sector at Calderdale Council, visited the charity to learn more about the work the charity does and the financial pressures they are faced with during this difficult financial time.
Ellen Boothe, CEO of Happy Days UK, said: “We have seen first-hand the impact the cost of living crisis has had on individuals and families in our community and the extra pressure on our services has been huge.”
“Demand was particularly high for our community café, which serves free hot meals, and the food bank, which was handing out over 300 parcels a week before we launched a new community supermarket this summer to give people greater dignity and choice.”
“Every bit of funding we receive makes a real difference to people’s lives by allowing us to keep running our services to meet the needs of local people who are struggling to pay for everyday necessities.”
Cllr Sarah Courtney, Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and the Voluntary Sector at Calderdale Council, said: “Local community groups do fantastic work to support residents and the Council’s priority to reduce inequalities. This new grant fund will build on the wide range of support that the Council, our partners and communities across Calderdale and West Yorkshire have been providing since the cost of living crisis hit.”
“This help is critical for people who are not only struggling with money but with their mental health too. The funding will help community organisations to provide wellbeing support as well as more practical help.”
“The Cost of Living Emergency Fund adds to the locally-launched Calderdale Cost of Living Fund, for which we’ve had 46 applications and will be notifying successful groups soon.”
Visit the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s cost of living support webpage for more information on the individual schemes and other important actions being taken across West Yorkshire by local authorities in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield.