The Cost of Living Crisis is affecting everyone and today (Friday 29 July) the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council laid out exactly how the city is fighting back.

Councillor Ian Brookfield launched the city’s Financial Wellbeing Strategy with key stakeholders and partners at the city’s Light House venue in The Chubb Buildings.

Spelling out a range of creative and ambitious supportive measures, he pledged to ensure those in poverty could still reach their full potential and build better lives not just for themselves now, but for their families for generations to come.

Councillor Brookfield said: ‘I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far in this city, but the national situation means too many people here and across the country are facing real financial hardship. Too many people – including those from working families – are struggling to make ends meet.

‘Too many people are having to make the decision between ‘heat or eat’ – waking up every day facing insecurity, uncertainty and impossible decisions about money. I know this situation is not unique to Wolverhampton, everyone is feeling the strain, but I want our solutions to be unique in the way we support our people through this crisis, as one city.

‘This is about supporting our people now, so they can then support themselves and their families for decades to come. It’s about helping people not fall into poverty in the first place and ensuring those already experiencing hardships don’t get trapped in a cycle, which sees them deprived of opportunities to reach their full potential.

‘We don’t want this current situation stopping people from daring to dream they can make their lives better. We don’t want this cost of living crisis robbing a generation of their chance to fully reach their potential. The people of this city are capable of great things and it’s our collective responsibility to give the support they need, when they need it.’ 

‘This strategy will support those who are already economically vulnerable to get back on their feet and then confidently make their own way. It’s about giving them the confidence and the skills to manage their own financial wellbeing.

‘We’ll also help people not fall into poverty in the first place with a range of preventative measures, providing a safety net to help them through these challenging times,’ he said.

‘I’m determined this will be a defining moment for the city - not in how it challenged us, but in how we overcame it to thrive and build better futures for our citizens.’

The Financial Wellbeing Strategy has been developed as a multi agency approach in close collaboration with citizens, committed partners and stakeholders. 

The strategy focuses on core areas where the biggest difference is needed such as, promoting financial responsibility; tackling food and fuel poverty; improving access to financial information; building awareness to promote behaviour change; and working with people to maximise money and opportunities. 

The launch event heard from a range of organisations, which have been working in partnership with the council to deliver crisis support, provide reassurance and offer advice to people finding themselves in new territory and in the most difficult situations. More than 50 different organisations in total are working with the council and each other to provide direct support and assistance to people in the city. 

Here are just a few of the commitments already made and action already underway:

  • Working with organisations in every community within the city
  • Opening 5 community shops this year to offer affordable and low cost food
  • Providing support to food banks, community kitchens, soup kitchens and grow your own projects
  • Working together to make it easier to access advice and guidance about money, debt, and finances 
  • Working with services across the council and its partner organisations including housing, health, public health, education, and the voluntary sector, to join up our work and tackle these issues together  

The audience also heard about people who are already benefiting from the support on offer through organisations such as  Women and Families Resource Centre, Community Support, ACCI and Voice 4 Parents.

Fact file 

  • The council has committed £1.1million this financial year, in addition to the grant funding through the Household Support Fund
  • Households across the city in every community have already been reached with support in one form or another, with data up to the end of April this year showing:
  • 75,358 individual awards have been granted 
  • 66,188 individual awards for households with children (under 19)
  • 8,579 for single people and families without children.
  • 68,746 individual awards for assistance with food and energy 
  • 3,832 individual awards for assistance with other household essentials including clothing, bedding, and household essentials. 
  • In the last month 609 individual applications for assistance have been awarded to support with rising food and energy costs. 
  • Families report they are saving on average up to £30 a week on their food bills by accessing the community shops, that’s a saving of £1500 per household, per year. 

Please visit Cost of living support for more information.