Cost of Living Joint Response | VCSE Milton Keynes 

We have started discussions with the local VCSE groups about a coordinated response to support the local communities in Milton Keynes during the Cost Of Living Crisis. We would love the wider sector to get involved. We have created a Google Sheet to map out the existing response and what is needed/ planned. Click here to access the spreadsheet and input your information directly or email by providing information under the following headings:

  • Organisation
  • Business Usual
  • Target Community
  • Geographical Area
  • New Volunteers Required
  • Volunteer Roles and Number
  • Offer if Additional Resources 
  • Funding Required Additional 

To share your information and be added to our distribution list, please email at us info@communityactionmk.org.  See more information, resources and signposting information below.

See MK Council’s Winter Plan 2022-23 published in early November 2022 here.

Funding opportunities

We have started listing the funding opportunities related to the Cost of Living Crisis response. Visit our dedicated funding page here.

Resources

The increases in the cost of living are ever prevalent, but there are both local and national organisations that can provide help and support.

MK Council Cost of Living Crisis Winter Plan and Support

Read how Milton Keynes Council are supporting MK residents this winter here.

Cost of Living Help, a document containing useful links to support, including what payments you’re entitled to, crisis support and links to organisations who can lend practical help and advice. Click here.

Sustainable Warmth Programme

The Sustainable Warmth Programme helps to fund home energy improvements for households struggling with energy bills.

Milton Keynes City Council is helping to raise awareness of this government grant – which could see households receiving up to £25,000 of home energy improvements at no cost to them.

Residents can apply for the scheme via this link: http://www.miltonkeynes-applications.co.uk/

The Sustainable Warmth Programme involves improvement works to homes, which can take several months and will help households ready for next winter. Many residents need urgent help now – the Energy Saving Trust offers practical tips on where people can turn for help paying energy bills.

Cost of Living Payments

If you are claiming a low-income benefit and think that you are entitled to a Cost of Living Payment, you
don’t need to do anything. You’ll get the payments automatically. The first instalment of the £650 Cost of Living Payments will be paid automatically to eligible people, between 14 – 31 July. The remaining £324 will be paid in autumn. To find out more visit Cost of Living Payment .

Help for Households: a summary of government support.

General Articles and Advice for the Sector

Cost of living: Why are things so hard for so many people? – BBC News

Citizens Advice Monthly Briefing on Cost of Living Crisis and their Data Dashboard for November.

The energy crisis: impact on charities | Harrison Clark Rickerbys (hcrlaw.com)

Guardian article – impact on single parents and their children 

ACEVO, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations has compiled a range of links to reports, surveys and data sources to support civil society leaders to understand the impact of the Cost of Living crisis.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations advice for charities for navigating the Cost of Living Crisis.

The Local Government’s Association’s Cost of Living Hub, where advice is shared so councils can best support their residents.

Keeping Warm

Warm Welcome

Warm Spaces

Searchable maps, helping people to find free, warm and welcoming places over the colder months.

Good Law Project

Regularly publishing ‘Empowered’ articles on different themes related to the cost-of-living support available and consumer rights.

The first article examines energy bill support and discounts.

The second article explains how to claim the benefits you’re entitled to.

The third article helps with understanding the rules on energy disconnection and prepayment meters.

Do you have a combi boiler?

Changing your boiler settings, could potentially cut gas use by 6-8% without changing room temperature. Nesta have launched a prototype tool to help optimise their heating: https://www.nesta.org.uk/project/optimising-boilers-reduce-household-emissions/how-to-optimise-your-boiler/

Octopus Energy – Free electric blankets for our most vulnerable

Find out more and register your interest here.

Transition town Milton Keynes

Local community group promoting local action for low-carbon living. Their website offers a range of ideas related to improving energy efficiency of households that could help with reducing costs.

SuperHomes scheme and newsletters: practical advice on keeping homes well-insulated and warm. 

Better Housing and Better Health

Offer impartial advice on reducing heating bills and keeping warm.

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

Champion of consumer rights, his website provides a wealth of information on coping strategies and ways to reduce household bills.

This November newsletter gives clear advice understanding the energy price guarantee, ways to ‘Heat the Human’ and tips on cutting energy use.

National Energy Foundation, Warm Home Discount

Those who need it most can get £140 (inclusive of VAT) off their electricity bill in the winter (September – March). NEF also issues Emergency Energy Cards.

Citizens Advice Bureau

A round up of advice, including Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments and links to energy suppliers who offer grants to their customers. CAB also provides links to support if you’re struggling with living costs.

Superhomes

Advice on reducing domestic energy use, sign up to their newsletter for tips.

Money Advice, Budgeting and Funding

MK Money Lifeline

Offering free confidential money advice and resources to anyone in the Milton Keynes area. Their services are provided by a team of trained volunteers who give advice in accordance with the training provided by Community Money Advice.

Milton Keynes Council 

Extra financial help, including assistance with rent, council tax relief, and local welfare provision.

Household support fund | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Funding from the Council to help residents who are in financial difficulties and struggling to meet the cost of essential items including:

  • Food
  • Energy and water bills
  • Repair or purchase of essential household appliances
  • Servicing and repair of heating systems
  • School uniform or other essential clothing
  • Other essential living costs

Turn2Us

A national charity who offers assistance to those struggling financially.

Money Helper

Free financial guidance

Data Poverty: The Good Things Foundation

Supporting people with data connectivity.

Housing and Homelessness

Housing solutions and homelessness advice | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Shelter

A national charity that helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, or the costs of housing, through  advice, support and legal services. They have a comprehensive resource bank on their website and a free emergency helpline, open Monday to Friday, 8am – 8pm and 9am – 5pm on weekends and bank holidays: 0808 800 4444. 

Winter Night Shelter

WNS support rough sleepers; people in emergency/temporary housing; people in need of support with tenancies and those at risk of homelessness.

Food and Cooking on a Budget

MK Melting Pot

MK Melting Pot aims to help young people, vulnerable families and individuals overcome hunger and integrate, empowering people from diverse cultures with new skills to overcome hardship. Some of their services include: Food Donations, Online Cooking, Employability & Training, Money Management and a Children Club. Contact details: phone – 01908 585537 email – mkmeltingpot@hotmail.com

MK Food Bank

The Food Bank Helpline: 0300 303 4933 or text HELP 07874 964505 open between 9:00am – 3:00pm, Monday – Friday. You can leave a message outside of these times.

FoodCycle

Beginning on the 4 November at the Old Bath House in Wolverton, a chance to enjoy a free, vegetarian 3 course meal in welcoming environment. No vouchers or referrals needed.

Trussell Trust

A charity that connects people to food banks and also offers an advice line

DREAMSAI – Food charity and Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple Milton Keynes

Cooking Good – Healthy, Community Cooking (cooking-good.co.uk)

Healthy, low-cost meal suggestions and recipes.

Reducing Fuel Use

MK Connect

Innovative and responsive public transport.

MK Connect: Demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes. – Via Transportation (ridewithvia.com)

Improving your cycling skills

Training courses – Milton Keynes (getaroundmk.org.uk)

Period Poverty

Girl Pack MK  – Girl Pack is for anyone who is in need of sanitary towels and underwear just so they can go to school or work (not means tested). Available in schools, community/children’s and family centres and local council offices all over MK. A list of venues can be found on their Facebook page.

Shopping

Charity shops are good places to find a bargain and a wide variety of stock. With the cost of living crisis leaving the people with less disposable income, second-hand shopping might be a good money-saving option. Just type in ‘charity shops near me’ into your search engine to find your local charity shops.

Further Signposting Information

To see other vital services available in Milton Keynes, please visit our Signposting Channels page: communityactionmk.org/signposting-channels