Council hosts Cost of Living Summit with local organisations

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Date published: 3rd November 2022

A worrying 66 per cent of North Norfolk residents who responded to a survey by the District Council said the rising cost of living has had a detrimental effect on their mental health.

Meanwhile 85 per cent say their financial situation has worsened in the last six months.

A total of 966 residents responded to the survey and results were shared with delegates from a wide range of support organisations at today’s Cost of Living Summit at North Norfolk District Council’s headquarters in Cromer.

Delegates also heard from guest speakers representing organisations in the front line of the efforts to support those Norfolk residents hit hardest by rising food and fuel costs.

Tim Morton from North Norfolk Foodbank revealed the number of people using their service has increased by 34 per cent in the last year – from 3,194 people in 2021 to 4,263 people in 2022.

Claire Cullens and Graeme Tolley from Norfolk Community Foundation spoke about their Community Hot-Spots and food hubs projects, revealing that 3,850 households in the county are accessing a food hub.

Major Alex Bishop spoke about the work The Salvation Army is doing in Sheringham to support residents in the town affected by rising fuel and food bills.

The summit provided delegates with the opportunity to find out about the range of support which organisations are providing across the district – giving groups a chance to interact, ask questions and identify more ways to work together to provide joined up support residents.

Ahead of the summit North Norfolk District Council carried out a special cost of living survey, which received 966 responses.

The survey confirmed residents are increasingly concerned about the rising cost of living and the majority are making changes to their day-to-day spending to cope. However the majority (61%) said they would not know where to seek further help if they were struggling with such costs. The summit event sought to increase the understanding of local agencies about rising demand for support services and consider how such demand might be met.

pie chart showing the answers to a questionnaireQuestionnaire Results

Tim Morton, Project Manager, North Norfolk Food Bank, said:

“It was an incredibly useful event. It was good to meet with people from all different organisations, community groups and charities. I have learned a tremendous amount and the bottom line is that there is a lot of support for people who are going to be experiencing this cost of living crisis.

“We have seen a big increase, but we have managed to meet that demand thanks to the incoming stock from donations.

“The message to people is, if you need support reach out, we are here, contact the food bank or contact any of the other layers of support that are out there. If you feel like you would like to support the food bank then please do, either in the supermarket collection bins or drop things into any of our distribution centres – we would be delighted to receive anything.”

Cllr Lucy Shires, Portfolio Holder for Organisational Resources at the Council, said:

“I’m really proud North Norfolk is leading the way to support our communities through the cost of living crisis by calling this summit. We had a wide range of organisations in attendance from health through to charity organisations. I’m really hopeful that collectively from this summit we can find some solutions that will help us support residents better as we enter the deeper part of winter.

Commenting on the fact that 66% of survey respondents stated that their mental health has worsened due to the cost of living crisis, she said:

“We know that people’s situation will have an impact on their mental health and as people’s circumstances are worsened due to the cost of living crisis, we sadly expect to see an increase in poor mental health. I think this is a time for us to as communities to make sure we are looking out for each other. But also, more importantly I know we do have a well-being hub coming to North Norfolk very soon which will hopefully provide that local intervention and support for people who need it.”

If you are experiencing difficulties with mental health, please call 111 press 2 wellbeing self-referral – www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/norfolk

Hear what Council Leader Tim Adams had to say about the Cost of Living Summit here.

Further advice and support

If you need advice and support, there are several ways we can help, and getting help as soon as possible can prevent things from getting worse.

Visit our cost of living page for further advice and support from the Council, local organisations and charities.

The next edition of the Council’s Outlook magazine will be sent out to all 50,000 households in North Norfolk later this month and features a special four-page cost of living section. This contains useful information, help and support for those who need it.

Useful links

Citizens Advice Norfolk – www.ncab.org.uk

Norfolk Community Foundation – www.norfolkfoundation.com

North Norfolk Foodbank – www.northnorfolk.foodbank.org.uk

The Sheringham Salvation Army – www.salvationarmy.org.uk/sheringham

Well Being – www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/norfolk

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