Fife Council will provide vital winter support for Fifers

Fife Council will provide vital winter support for Fifers

Councillors in Fife have approved a plan to continue providing crucial support to residents struggling with the cost of living this winter.

Following last year’s coordinated winter support programme, councillors have agreed to a total of £1.84 million extra funding, to help people with things like fuel top ups, mould and damp issues and winter warmer packs. This is in addition to a previously approved package of support totalling £4.3m.

Council leader, Councillor David Ross welcomed the support from fellow councillors in agreeing the funding package. He said: “The cost of living crisis has impacted on so many people, some of whom have always managed before but can no longer make ends meet. We made it our mission in Fife to try to protect people as much as we can with a variety of help and support to help those most in need.

“Last year we gave fuel support to 5,000 struggling households, provided over 42,000 meals at Café Inc in October and December alone and helped support 72 community warm spaces. It’s clear that people are still struggling and support will be needed again this year.

“The programme of support uses a mixture of temporary funding available to the council, alongside our Community Recovery Fund and Area Committee anti-poverty provision.

“We have looked at what was most effective last year and will be targeting our support on these measures. One of our key goals is to also make sure that everyone is applying for all the benefits they are entitled to, and we have staff available to help anyone through the process.”

The Fife Benefit Checker, ‘Entitled To’, helps people increase their monthly income. From the end of October 2022 – June 2023 there were 7,359 benefit checks completed. This resulted in an average gain of £104 per month for those who used it.

New software being used in the council, the Low-Income Family Tracker (LIFT), helps target low-income households who could increase their income from benefits. The system was used to quickly identify 96 households, which would be affected by the benefit cap, giving them an average £40 more per week.

Funding for this year will be targeted through:

  • Income Maximization and Energy Advice: Working with Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) and Cosy Kingdom
  • Crisis Fuel Support: To assist those facing fuel crises during the winter
  • Mould and Damp Issues: Recognizing the health risks posed by mould and damp, housing services will prioritize addressing these issues
  • Household Support: Cosy Kingdom will continue its handy service and Fife Council Housing will review its re-let standards to ensure new tenants receive adequate furnishings
  • Warm and Welcoming Community Places and Emergency Food Support: Based on the successful results from the previous year, £260,000 will be allocated to support both community food providers and warm places during the winter months.
  • Child Maintenance: Fife Gingerbread will receive funding to remove barriers preventing more families from accessing Child Maintenance.

Councillor Ross added: “With these measures in place, Fife is committed to ensuring that residents receive the support they need during the challenging winter months. The council is actively working to enhance support services, maximize income, and provide assistance where it’s needed most, reaffirming our commitment to community well-being.”

Advice and support on the cost of living can still be found here.

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