In collaboration with local government partners, community groups and the business sector, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is working to support the many families and individuals facing hardship in the current cost of living crisis.
The rising costs of fuel, food and other essentials are combining with existing disadvantage and vulnerability within our communities to put many households at greater risk of both immediate hardship and reduced opportunities and wellbeing.
For the third year running, community organisations forming part of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Community Co-ordination Hub has teamed up with Norbrook Laboratories’ ‘We Care At Christmas’ scheme to distribute 250 fresh meals throughout the district on the six Fridays leading up to Christmas as well as 4000 food hampers and toy hampers.
The project was initially developed in 2019 as a response to the increased level of need among residents within the community due to COVID-19. Now, due to the rising cost of food, this scheme is just as important as ever.
A longer-term initiative that is currently being rolled out across the district is the Open House Programme. As people struggle to keep up with rising utility costs, the Council is providing a warm, welcoming space in Council buildings within each of its District Electoral Areas. The weekly sessions give people an opportunity to spend time with friends and family and meet new people whilst enjoying a free cup of tea or coffee. The programme complements provision that our partners in the Community and Voluntary sector are making within their buildings.
In January, the Council will host two health and wellbeing information events called ‘Keeping Warm and Well’. During the day information on benefits, housing, home safety and advice services will be available from a range of support agencies. The events are open for everyone to attend and will take place in Newry Leisure Centre on Monday 23 January and Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick on Monday 30 January. These events will coincide with Newry and Downpatrick’s Open House session.
Talking about the work of the Council during the cost of living crisis, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “The Council and local partners are committed to delivering services for our residents to support them while the cost of living continues to rise. We will go on working in collaboration with all sectors across the community who can strengthen our offering and maximise the support we provide. We will also continue to signpost residents, through our social media platforms, to other sources of support as they become available.”
Information on all Council initiatives to support our residents with the cost of living will be on the Council website from the beginning of January and will be promoted through the Council’s social media platforms.