A major campaign to support residents across the city through the cost of living crisis and winter months has launched, with the support of public services, community and voluntary sector groups.

The Stronger Together through Winter campaign has brought services together to offer targeted support that will:

The campaign has been co-ordinated by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in partnership with VAST, which supports the voluntary and community sector in the city, and a number of other charities and public services.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The national cost of living crisis is already beginning to impact on our city as we all start to feel the pinch of increased energy bills and the rise in inflation. As a council, we are impacted by this and are faced with tough decisions, just as everyone else is. But it is absolutely right that we come together as a city to face this challenge.

“During the coronavirus pandemic we collectively showed the tremendous sense of community in Stoke-on-Trent, that we are there for each other through the difficult times, and that crucially, we help people who need our help the most.

“We have taken the principles of that stronger together campaign to again work with VAST and the many wonderful community and voluntary groups in Stoke-on-Trent to ensure we are providing targeted support to people this winter.”

The campaign will see council-run libraries across the city become among the first of a growing number of welcoming spaces, where people can meet up, socialise, access support on issues such as money, welfare and mental wellbeing, access computers, free wi-fi and charging points, and heated spaces.

The council is administering £2m in household support fund money from the Department for Work and Pensions, and this funding will see:

Lisa Healings, chief executive of VAST, said: “We have a very well connected, supportive community and voluntary sector in the city that has deep roots in communities.

“We know that the colder months will be a significant strain on households right across Stoke-on-Trent, as it will be for people elsewhere in the country. We want to reassure residents that there is help to support you and a lot of planned, co-ordinated work is taking place so that people can benefit from this support swiftly when they need it the most.”

Visit #StokeonTrentTogether here