The Council is leading on a new initiative to allow professionals, volunteers and business owners who work with or support local residents to become Cost of Living Community Champions and offer informed guidance on a wide range of topics related to money and poverty.
The Council has become a host organisation for a Government backed programme called Money Guiders. This programme, delivered by the Council’s Health Improvement Team, is available to anybody who works with the community, whether they are staff members, volunteers, owners of a business or an organisation, charity or group from the community sector.
Following induction to the programme, participants can complete free, online modules at their own pace and on any topics they consider relevant to their work. Module topics include themes such as welfare and benefits, cashflow and budgeting, debt, housing and much more.
Once completed, participants will have the opportunity to progress to higher levels on the given topics in order to build upon their knowledge and be able to confidently answer questions and give guidance to the people they work with as part of their roles.
The programme also offers a free City & Guilds Accreditation option for those looking to count their engagement towards their Continuing Professional Development.
In addition to the programme, the Council has been working with volunteers across Redcar and Cleveland, organising free drop in sessions where residents can come and speak with local organisations and charities to receive information, guidance and support.
Liz Robinson, one of the Cost of Living Champions and a volunteer who runs several community events at the Lazenby Village Hall as part of the Iron Stone charity, said: “I hope that this programme will allow us to help the people in our community to access the benefits and support they need. With the best will in the world not everybody knows everything that is available and where it can be accessed so hopefully this will help us help them.”
Les Prest, a resident of Lazenby and a regular at the events organised by Liz said: “Liz and her husband Fred are always giving 100% to help the people here. They are amazing people and I am really grateful for everything they are doing.”
Cabinet Member for Health, Welfare and Housing, Cllr Ursula Earl, said: “We know that many people, both professionals and volunteers, who work with local communities, can often be faced with questions regarding money, debt or housing and related issues, especially during these challenging times. We hope that this programme will give them the knowledge they need in order to answer these questions and allow residents to find out and access the support they are eligible for sooner.”
Those supporting local residents who would like to find out more about how to become a Cost of Living Community Champion, can get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org More information about support provided during the Cost of Living Crisis can also be found at Cost of living support | Redcar and Cleveland (redcar-cleveland.gov.uk)