We announce support plans over winter
We have announced how we will be supporting colleagues, customers and members of our communities with the cost of living crisis.
With inflation at an all-time high and the price of essential items increasing exponentially faster than household incomes, the UK is facing a huge crisis, with millions expected to face devastating financial hardship this winter.
We have offered free youth activities, employment and wellbeing support, opportunities to access their facilities and eat for free for a number of years. However, due to the current climate, they have introduced a number of new initiatives to go even further.
To support with energy and food, we have begun a ‘Winter Warmer’ project at their office on Cole Street, Scunthorpe and at both of their community hubs, The Arc in Scunthorpe and The Viking Centre in Barton.
As part of this, members of the community can benefit from free hot drinks and a welcoming environment to keep warm, whilst saving on energy costs and meeting new people.
The Arc has also introduced a ‘Coat Swap’ campaign, which so far has been extremely popular. The idea is for people to donate old coats in good condition, and for those most in need to take their pick for free.
The Viking Centre has linked with Slow Circular Earth and local supermarkets to provide a community pantry, so that customers can buy a bag and fill it with food and toiletries for only £1.50. If successful, this is set to be rolled out further.
Along with these community projects, we have an in-house team to take care of customers who are facing financial hardship. This includes affordability checks, benefit and debt advice, accessing grants and any additional services or organisations required.
They have pledged that if customers struggling to pay their rent engage with their team, no legal action will be taken. This means we will not carry out any evictions at this current time.
When homes become empty, insulation will be upgraded if needed to reduce heat loss and bills, with this programme currently being rolled out wider to existing homes too.
We have also funded a brand new position within Citizens Advice North Lincolnshire, specifically for their tenants to offer advice, especially around energy. This service will launch in November 2022.
A team of dedicated mental health specialists are on hand too. We are urging anyone in need to get in touch with them.
Steve Hepworth, Chief Executive said: “Our message is simple, we are here. Please do not suffer in silence, talk to us and we can help.
“Now and in the next few months many people, including our tenants, customers and colleagues, may struggle with increases in the cost of living. We are already seeing people who need help now, and that’s why we’ve put this package of support in place for those most in need.
“We stand with our communities and would urge anyone in need, whether that’s in finding work or training, accessing mental health or financial support, or just needing a helping hand, to please come to us.”
To find out more about Ongo and the support we can offer, follow us on social media.