I know that rising prices are the biggest concern for everyone in the constituency, and I’m glad that people are realising that help is available.
The rising cost of living may be the result of global forces – international energy prices and the world economy recovering from the pandemic – but local organisations play an important role for local people.
I have organised events in Penzance and Helston, but for anyone unable to attend here is a list of the organisations who were represented.
Community Energy Plus
Cornwall’s energy advice charity can help anyone with energy advice and practical help to ensure their houses are warm and healthy. They can help you understand your bills, manage debts, and talk to your supplier, and can assist in applications for the Warm Home Discount and other benefits. They are a good first port of call for anyone worried about their energy bills this winter.
www.cep.org.uk or phone 0800 954 1956
Citizens Advice Cornwall
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for everyone in Cornwall. They have a new home at the YMCA in Penzance, for “drop-in” sessions from 9:30 until 12 Monday to Thursday. Their advisors help with any issue, from benefits, debt and housing to consumer issues and relationship breakdowns.
Drop into Penzance or text the word ADVICE to 78866
Cornwall Fire and Rescue
Cornwall’s fire and rescue service work on preventing fires and accidents in the home. Anyone can undertake a free home fire safety check online, and the most vulnerable will be offered a home visit to make sure that they are living safe and well. This approach provides a pathway to other organisations that can give extra support and advice.
The local foodbank is run by Churches Together in Penzance, and distributes food boxes four days a week to anyone with a voucher. You can get a voucher from the Citizens Advice Bureau, job centres, doctors and health visitors, schools and other public bodies – and the foodbank itself can put you in touch with the right agency. They are always happy to receive donations –at the store on Tuesdays or in one of the many local drop-off points.
Churches Together In Penzance Food Bank (facebook.com) 07590 159841
Whole Again Communities
Whole Again Communities (WAC) is a social enterprise which encourages and supports people to learn to cook good quality, affordable food from scratch so that they can embrace healthy eating at home.
https://www.wholeagaincommunities.co.uk/ 01736 369772
Farm Cornwall offers sound, practical, realistic and confidential advice to Cornish farmers and their families. From debt advice to support with grant applications, this community interest company can help everyone working in our agricultural sector to access the support they need.
https://www.farmcornwall.co.uk/ 01736 367589
GOFA stands for Good Old Furniture Available. It is a non-profit making charity that recycles unwanted household/garage items and distributes them into the wider community around West Cornwall. As well as helping people furnish their homes, GOFA also helps the environment by reducing what is taken to landfill.
http://www.gofa.org.uk/ 01736 369847
Transformation Cornwall supports groups tackling poverty and exclusion in Cornwall – providing bespoke support to individual organisations, introducing them to funding opportunities and strengthening links between organisations working on tackling food poverty and financial inclusion.
Who Dares Works
Who Dares Works is a partnership working to help local people reconnect with education, training and employment. Those who are eligible to work, but not in employment, can receive mentoring and specialist support to build confidence, motivation and self-belief, and a host of work-related activities, from volunteering and community projects to taster days and work experience.
https://activeplus.org.uk/who-dares-works/ or phone 01326 567174
Penzance Town Council
The Mayo r of Penzance attended to listen to any residents’ concerns, which could be brought up at a council meeting. Councillors are always pleased to hear from residents and to help them find the support they need – you can find out who your councillor is at https://www.penzance-tc.gov.uk/your-councillors
Christians Against Poverty
CAP is a debt counselling charity, funded by local churches but open to everyone who needs support with managing debt. The charity provides home visits and seeks to support clients through the whole length of their journey out of debt. They offer a face to face service in your home or in their Helston centre, or over the telephone if preferred. They also run a drop-in Job Club for those who want support in their search for employment in the Central Methodist Church on Fridays between 10 and 12.
https://capuk.org/get-help/cap-debt-help or phone 01274 760720
Helston and the Lizard Foodbank
The local foodbank is open three days a week in Wendron Street, with a weekly pop-up in Mullion Methodist Church, giving food boxes to anyone with a voucher. You can get a voucher from the Citizens Advice Bureau, job centres, doctors and health visitors, schools and other public bodies – and the foodbank itself can put you in touch with the right agency. They are always happy to receive donations – look in Tesco to see what their most urgent needs are.
Helston Community Larder
Food waste is an environmental issue – but tackling waste means that there’s more good nutritious food for everyone. Helston Climate Action Group collects food from supermarkets, farmers and gardeners and distributes it at Helston Family Hub every Tuesday afternoon and at Mullion Cricket Club on Wednesday mornings.
Inclusion Cornwall is a partnership of organisations & services working together to ensure all of Cornwall’s residents thrive and prosper. They ensure everyone can access opportunities and reduce health inequalities, and can find the right support for those who are vulnerable because of poor health, low income or living in a cold or damp house.
Western Power Distribution
Western Power provides a Priority Service Register for everyone who might need extra help at home during a power cut. Those on the register also gain access to impartial advice from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, who can help households stay warm and manage their bills. They can undertake benefit checks and advise on other funding sources, as well as providing practical advice on ways to reduce energy bills.
Cse.org.uk/advice or phone 0800 082 2234
Southwest Water can help anyone save on their water bills with advice on saving water and free water-saving products like tap inserts and cistern bags. There is additional support for anyone on a low income or who has got behind with their bill, from flexible payment plans to help you spread the cost of your water bill to support tariffs that reduce the amount you pay if you’re on a low income.
https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/help/need-help-paying-bill/ or phone 0344 346 1010
Age Concern is a charity that brings older people together, making sure that they are still mentally active and part of the community. They provide lunch for senior citizens in Helston every Monday – and can come and pick you up in their minibus, specially adapted for disabled access. There are also Memory Cafes every other Tuesday for those affected by memory loss.