Merton announces £2m fund to help with cost-of-living crisis

Merton Council has announced a £2million cost-of-living support fund to help those residents being hardest-hit by the current crisis.

The council’s support package will include targeted help to residents most-impacted, as well as support to local community voluntary groups, as prices soar and inflation reaches 9%.

The authority is also inviting residents to a series of free-to-attend events where they can receive supermarket vouchers to help with food shopping, as well as advice and guidance from the council and its partners.

In addition, a Holiday Activities & Food (HAF) scheme will also be run by the council over the summer holidays, providing free, nutritional meals to children.

The package is on top of the Merton’s Council Tax Support Scheme, which is already set at the highest available level.

Council Leader Ross Garrod said the fund will help provide “real, tangible support for those who are feeling the impact the most as we plan for the months ahead”.

The council will be talking to community and resident groups over the coming months to identify the best way to use the fund.

The three cost-of-living support events for residents will be held as below:

July 9, Morden Library, 10.30am

July 16, Mitcham Library, 10.30am

July 23, Wimbledon Library, 10.30am

All residents who attend will receive a £10 voucher to spend at the local supermarket.

People will be also able to get advice on-site from partners including Citizens Advice Bureau, and council staff will be available to signpost to services for additional support.

An online hub has also been created with a wide range of advice and signposting for residents to ensure they can access the full range of support available from both the council and partners such as Citizens Advice, Wimbledon Guild and the Commonside Trust.

Cllr Garrod said: “Nobody should have to choose between heating and eating – but that’s the reality many people on lower incomes will face this winter. This fund will help towards ensuring that this choice doesn’t have to be made.

“We will be listening to local resident groups, community partners, voluntary organisations and experts within the council to determine the best way to use the money, and I’m delighted that we’re able to offer some support in advance of what will be an incredibly tough winter for many people.”

Deputy Leader, Eleanor Stringer, added: “Our partnership work with the voluntary sector was a cornerstone of support for thousands of residents throughout the pandemic. Now, they are stepping up again, and I would strongly urge anybody who is struggling with their bills to come along and talk to us about how we can help.”

Full details of the events can be found on the council website at Help with the cost of living | Merton Council.