Households in North Yorkshire struggling with the cost of living are being directed to community and financial support.

As more people struggle to afford everyday essentials and bills, we have put together a co-ordinated response to the cost of living crisis to highlight the support available to the public.

We are also working with community support organisations (CSOs), which have extensive knowledge on locally-run projects. community support organisations can direct people to local support, such as food banks or food share schemes, community venues offering warm spaces or support groups.

Alongside the established foodbanks and network of libraries offering a warm welcome over winter, there are many smaller schemes, such as food pantries run by volunteers in their spare time or when resources are available. 

community support organisations have the local knowledge to direct people to the nearest support. There are 23 community support organisations across the county, which co-ordinate volunteer and community support in each area. The network was used effectively during the pandemic to direct resources on the ground to where they were needed most. Find your nearest community support organisation.

Libraries are also on hand to provide a warm and friendly welcome, where people can pick up a book, join an activity, or find details of other events in their communities.

We are also urging people to look out for family, friends and neighbours over the colder months. This could involve getting together for a cup of tea; making sure they have accessed any financial support which may be available to them, or just checking on their wellbeing.

Some community spaces in North Yorkshire are looking at extending their opening hours and their range of activities to provide a warm and inviting venue over winter. Community venues with the resources to offer help in this way are encouraged to register on the Warm Welcome website, which provides a map and information packs for venues.

Venues already registered with Warm Welcome include the Living Rooms project in Northallerton, a community hub in the town set up to tackle social exclusion and provide support for good mental and emotional wellbeing. It includes a Renew Wellbeing space, a quiet, shared café-style space where it is “okay not to be okay”. It partners other similar organisations, including Hambleton Foodshare, Hambleton Community Action and Jubilee Debt Advice and Darlington Credit Union.

Jo Swain, hub co-ordinator at the Living Rooms, said the project always offers a warm welcome to anyone who needs it, but this winter will be looking to extend the support it can offer to people struggling with the cost of living.

We will update our cost of living online resource throughout winter, detailing where people can go if they need help or advice on everything from energy bills to childcare support and housing costs. It also directs people to support such as free school meals; the holiday activities programme run by North Yorkshire Together, and Healthy Start support, which can provide food and milk to parents more than 10 weeks pregnant, or with a child under four.