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New community forum held to tackle cost of living concerns

We have started a community forum to deal with cost of living concerns across the district. 

New connections were made between the 80 attendees from town and parish councils, local charities, volunteer organisations, and faith-based groups who joined together in Lyndhurst Community Centre on Wednesday 18 October 2023.  

Groups attending included Citizens Advice New Forest, Community First Wessex, New Forest Basic Bank, The Crossings, and Youth and Families Matter.  

At the forum, representatives from these charitable organisations shared insight on the cost-of-living crisis, the impact this is having on New Forest residents, and their ongoing work to support those experiencing hardship.  

We set out the actions we are taking to address cost of living concerns and the impact of these on residents, including providing grant schemes and support funds, giving advice at community hubs, and working with food banks.  

The forum heard about initiatives by town and parish councils in the district. These include providing access to showers, washing and drying machines in local facilities, warm spaces, and refreshments. Other examples include the provision of healthy cookery classes for those cooking on a budget. 

The forum is working together to share good practice, identify gaps in support and to consider further how best to coordinate actions to help those most in need in the community.  

Cllr Dan Poole, Community, Safety and Wellbeing portfolio holder, said: "Today's forum has been a great opportunity to bring people together and share good practice with partners who work hard to help people across the New Forest. It's important for residents to know that there is support available, either when first starting to have financial difficulties, or in a crisis. There's already so much going on across so many organisations and now we're working to ensure that we identify areas and connect with organisations to do more."

Andy Clarke, Project Leader from The Crossings said: "It's a great privilege for us to meet with people at our drop-in sessions, and we've been able to partner with NFDC's housing options team to help people get the help they need which works really well. This forum is a great opportunity to explore future ideas with other groups in the New Forest."  

For more information about cost of living support and through partner organisations can be found on the cost of living page on our website.  

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