• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

The cost of living crisis this winter will bring ‘unprecedented pressures’, say Oxford charities


Sep 25, 2022

FOOD banks and a homeless charity in Oxford have warned that this winter is going to bring “unprecedented pressures” on their services due to the cost of living crisis.

Earlier this week, senior members of Oxfordshire County Council agreed to a list of measures to help people in the county, as they face a combination of inflation and the rising cost of energy.

The council’s cabinet said that an initial £2 million of funding would be provided to support plans, which include financial support for voluntary and community initiatives including food services, money and debt advice, and networks for older people and vulnerable adults and those working with families in need.

However, Calum Miller, the council’s cabinet member for finance, admitted the figure was relatively modest, saying the authority did not have enough money to “fill all of the gaps that residents are going to face”

READ MORE: New plans to tackle the cost of living crisis agreed by Oxfordshire County Council

Jane Benyon, of the Community Emergency Foodbank, at St Francis Church, in Hollow Way, Cowley, said that winter would bring unprecedented pressure on food banks and that the organisation would “use all the help they can get.”

She said: “We will look into their schemes to see if they can help organisations like ours, as we usually only rely on private donations rather than from local authorities – and we know that £2 million is not a lot these days.

“But every bit is welcome, and we hope it will take the pressure off us and similar organisations.”

Jo Faulkner-Harvey, from Homeless Oxfordshire, said: “We are bracing for a massive spike in the number of people who are going to become homeless – we are going to see people that never thought they would, become homeless because of the cost of energy and mortgages going up.

“We are going to face much higher heating costs and we think it’s going to be a knock on effect.

“People are scared and unsure of what is going to happen and we are waiting for central government to do something that will help charities and businesses.

“£2 million seem like a lot of money but in the grand scheme of things it’s not, I think it’s going to be quite a tricky time for everyone.”

READ MORE: Plans for 10 new 'affordable homes' in Oxford face opposition by neighbours and councillors

Dave Parkes, chairman of Oxford Food Hub, which takes unsold food from producers and redistributes it for free to community food projects in and around Oxford, said: “We know that there are going to be some tough choices to be made during winter, as more people are pushed into food poverty because of the cost of living crisis and it’s going to get worse in the next few months.

“Our main priority will be making sure people know where to go to get a nutritious meal if they can’t afford it.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi