A new website has been launched this week to help Dumfries and Galloway residents with cost-of-living increases.
The site is a one-stop shop detailing help with money and benefits, household bills, finding work, health and wellbeing, as well as support for families, young people, the elderly, and disabled.
Cost-of-living increases are now affecting everyone living and working in Dumfries and Galloway, but many residents remain unaware of what help is available to them.
The website – https://costofliving.dumgal.gov.uk – details the support at local, national, and UK level and will evolve as information and support changes.
It has been developed by the region’s Poverty and Inequalities Partnership and will signpost people in need to information and resources that can mitigate the impact of falling income or increased bills.
The Partnership is made up of local and national organisations, including Dumfries and Galloway Council, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, and Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service.
Its remit is to drive forward a local action plan and work collaboratively to tackle poverty and inequalities. The website is part of a wider campaign to highlight the cost-of-living support available and help those in need.
Dumfries and Galloway Council Co-Leader, Councillor Stephen Thompson, said: “The winter months will bring extremely challenging times for many living in the region, especially for those that are vulnerable and most in need.
“There is a lot of support available both locally and nationally to each of us affected by cost-of-living pressures, but this website marks the first time in Dumfries and Galloway that it’s all been accessible in one place.
“We will do everything we can to help our citizens navigate these difficult times and the launch of this online resource will detail the full range of support available from the council and our partners.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council Co-Leader, Councillor Linda Dorward, said: “Dumfries and Galloway is known for coming together in a crisis: you only have to look at the region’s response to covid to see that.
“Close working between partners is essential to support our citizens at all times, but particularly now with the cost-of-living increases being felt every time we go to the shops or check our bank accounts.
“I welcome this new website from the Poverty and Inequalities Partnership, which makes it easier for those living in the region to access the help and support they need.”
Jeff Ace, NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Chief Executive, said the cost-of-living pressures set to be faced by communities this winter were very significant, and had the potential to impact on people not just financially but also significantly in terms of health and wellbeing.
“As an individual organisation and as part of the wider Poverty and Inequalities Partnership, we are committed to providing what support we can to people during this extremely challenging period,” he added.
“I very much welcome the new website, which has been created as one of the resources people will be able to access, collecting information which may be of use and signposting to individual agencies.
“I would encourage everyone to review what support is available to help them personally, and to give thought to what support and help they may be able to provide to others.”
Norma Austin Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, highlighted that many third sector organisations were at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis.
“Not only are they worried about how the crisis affects their own running cost, but they also provide services to some of the most vulnerable people in society who are looking for more help,” she added.
“We want to provide as much practical support as possible and this website is a great resource for anyone who is looking for direction and information about what is available right now.”
Phil Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Dumfries and Galloway Citizen Advice Service, said: “This is an excellent example of joined up partnership working in our region. The creation of this website is another great opportunity to reach out across our communities to those who may be struggling with the cost of living or those supporting them to find the information and support they need.”
Partner organisations also continue to work independently on their own action plans to help those in need.