This winter is going to be a challenging time for many of us as rising costs of living, combined with high levels of inflation, mean that our money may not cover all our needs in terms of food, warmth and wellbeing.
The County Council recognises these difficulties and has various initiatives in place to support people, particularly the most vulnerable in society. They have also created an online ‘hub’ to help people identify and access the help that is available to them in the local area. You may see posters around the village with these details on them, too, while there is an information leaflet which can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
We would encourage all residents who are in need to review the support available and seek help without shame or embarrassment, especially during the coldest months of the year.
Among the various plans for 2022/23, the County Council will support local, grassroots organisations via grants from the Oxfordshire Community Foundation and is working with the libraries network to ensure local libraries can act as designated warm spaces for people to spend time as required during the winter. In Eynsham, we would also direct people to Eynsham Consolidated Charity, which has grants available to those in need.
Citizens Advice Oxfordshire can provide free, one-to-one advice on managing your money and identify what benefits might be available to you, while those who receive free school meals will receive equivalent support through the Christmas holidays. If you’re struggling with bills, we’d recommend speaking to your energy supplier as some will have hardship funds or support schemes available to you.
It's also important to look after your mental wellbeing when times are challenging. Avoid isolation by spending time in libraries or public spaces, try to keep active (this can improve your mood and warm you up too!) and always ask for help if you need it. There are many local services available, searchable on the Oxford Mind Guide.
We recognise that not everyone will be confident or able to access websites and online services. If you know anyone living locally who is vulnerable and may be struggling, we would encourage you to reach out to them and offer any help you can. Eynsham is a close knit, supportive community and we hope that we will all be able to pull together to get through this challenging winter.