Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin has intensified her backing for charities and community initiatives on the front lines of the escalating cost of living crisis. Nearly £2 million in additional support for the cost of living will be provided to individuals grappling with surging expenses and bills across West Yorkshire.
Building upon the success of disbursing £1 million to over 6,000 households—more than double the initial goal of 3,000—the Mayor has initiated the second phase of her Cost of Living Emergency Fund. Collaborating with the region’s five local authorities, £1.9 million in grant funding will be allocated to local charities and voluntary organisations dedicated to aiding those most severely impacted by the cost of living crisis.
Initially introduced by the Mayor in October 2022, the emergency fund aimed to bolster frontline community services, assisting people in meeting fundamental requirements throughout the winter, including provisions for food, heating, mental health support, and urgent debt advice.
This fresh injection of funds will enable charities and community groups to further innovate and devise strategies to address the cost of living crisis, thereby enhancing assistance for vulnerable households grappling with unprecedented and unaffordable living expenses.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “Our cost of living support demonstrates the power of devolution, as we work with local authorities and charities across the region to make a real difference to people’s lives.
“We’ve successfully supported thousands of struggling households and our region’s brilliant charities to do their important work with the most vulnerable following a drop in donations.
“We will continue to work with our dedicated partners to support all our communities through the cost of living crisis, as we build a brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”
Halifax-based homelessness charity, Happy Days UK, stands as one of the beneficiaries in West Yorkshire set to receive support from this new round of funding. Additionally, they recently received over £7,000 in funding derived from confiscated assets of criminals through Mayor Brabin’s Safer Communities Fund.
Happy Days plays a pivotal role in collaboration with Calderdale Council and partners in providing cost-of-living support and anti-poverty initiatives in Calderdale, having received local cost-of-living funds in December 2022.
Mayor Brabin, along with Cllr Sarah Courtney, Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and the Voluntary Sector at Calderdale Council, paid a visit to the charity to gain insights into their operations and the financial challenges they face during this economically trying period.
Ellen Boothe, CEO of Happy Days UK, said; “We have seen first-hand the impact the cost of living crisis has had on individuals and families in our community and the extra pressure on our services has been huge.
“Demand was particularly high for our community café, which serves free hot meals, and the food bank, which was handing out over 300 parcels a week before we launched a new community supermarket this summer to give people greater dignity and choice.
“Every bit of funding we receive makes a real difference to people’s lives by allowing us to keep running our services to meet the needs of local people who are struggling to pay for everyday necessities.”
Cllr Sarah Courtney, Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and the Voluntary Sector at Calderdale Council, said; “Local community groups do fantastic work to support residents and the Council’s priority to reduce inequalities. This new grant fund will build on the wide range of support that the Council, our partners and communities across Calderdale and West Yorkshire have been providing since the cost of living crisis hit.
“This help is critical for people who are not only struggling with money but with their mental health too. The funding will help community organisations to provide well-being support as well as more practical help.
“The Cost of Living Emergency Fund adds to the locally-launched Calderdale Cost of Living Fund, for which we’ve had 46 applications and will be notifying successful groups soon.”
For more detailed information on specific schemes and other crucial initiatives undertaken by local authorities in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield, please visit the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s webpage dedicated to the cost of living support.