The council urged buildings to be opened up to those struggling with bills

A COUNCIL has called for community buildings to be opened up to people struggling to heat their homes.

Independent councilor Anne Pissaridou is concerned that older people and families will find themselves isolated and struggling to heat their homes when energy prices rise again next month.

Cllr Pissaridou has written to Brighton and Hove City Council Green leader Phelim Mac Cafferty, proposing a venue in her North Portslade community.

She said the Pavilion Nursery building could be a warm focal point for people to have a “cup of tea and a chat” when the Nursery moves to Mile Oak Primary School.

The Argus: The Pavilion Nursery building was suggested as a focal pointThe Pavilion Nursery building was suggested as the focal point

Cllr Pissaridou said: “I am really concerned because poverty is high in my community. In 2012, Penny Gilbey and I started a food bank. We saw the need and then acted. Unfortunately it still works.

“There are many people who will help in the community. Portslade community organizations and boards come out and help because they see a need. It’s a brilliant community.

“During Covid, many people, particularly the elderly, have been very isolated – and I’m seeing it again. I see them wrapped in coats and blankets instead of turning on the heat.

“Once you’re socially isolated, it’s a downward spiral. If we can keep people in touch with everyone – “come and have a cup of tea, come and talk” – people will find solutions.

“Social isolation worries me so much because I have a lot of older people there and a lot of single parents who are struggling.”

Cllr Pissaridou said she has been in touch with the Aging Well community project and a soup kitchen to try and coordinate volunteers if the council backs the idea.

She had planned to present her letter at a full council meeting in October, but feared it would be too late.

She asked any community groups interested in getting involved to email her at anne.pissaridou@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

The council said: “The energy and livelihood crisis is already hitting many people in our city extremely hard.

“We are exploring all the avenues available to us to help people. We know only too well that the heaviest burden of this crisis rests on those who are least wealthy.

“The government’s budget support fund, local tax energy rebate and energy bill rebates have and will provide some support. A third round of the budget support fund is currently expected from October to March.

“While the draft guidance has been issued we are awaiting government confirmation of the level of support to be provided. We will prioritize the distribution of this fund once confirmed.

“Meanwhile, we are offering free holiday clubs this summer as we realize how expensive the holidays can be for the poorest of families.

“The community hub we created to support people in need during the pandemic will continue. Helping people access welfare, groceries and essentials, the hub also helps them access the right advice on welfare, managing money and lowering their fuel bills.

“We have increased the amount available to help people pay for essentials like fridges and stoves. We’ve improved our Council Tax Reduction Scheme to help more people.

“We’ve also improved wages for low-paid community workers by eliminating the lowest pay brackets, benefiting 3,800 workers, most of whom live in the city.

“In partnership with Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove and Brighton and Hove Food Partnership we have launched the Brighton and Hove Cost of Living Crisis Fund.

“More than £35,000 has been donated and will help those suffering most during this crisis.”

The Argus: Cllr Pissaridou expressed concern about the cost of living crisisCllr Pissaridou expressed concern about the cost of living crisis

The council added: “We are introducing an insulation program for warmer, healthier community houses. We’ve also strengthened the council’s enforcement team so we can take action against landlords who rent out cold, leaky houses in the private rental sector.

“We are exploring all options to provide the best possible support and are looking across the country for innovative ideas such as: B. the use of communal facilities as “warm places” in winter.

“However, we know that people really need support to heat their homes and feed themselves and their families.

“We all need clarity from the Government on the support they will be offering to both individuals and councils.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20903798.council-urged-open-buildings-struggling-bills/?ref=rss The council urged buildings to be opened up to those struggling with bills

Fry Electronics Team

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