Residents of Sunderland among the hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis are set to receive a major lifeline this winter, thanks to much-needed funding from Sunderland City Council.

The Labour-led Council has set aside almost a third of its £2.6million budget from the third round of the Household Support Fund to support low paid workers and vulnerable pensioners ineligible for government cost of living payments.

The funding, topped up with an extra £320,000 from the council, will support people with energy bills, food packages, free school meals and contributions to everyday living costs such as essential travel.

Phase two of the fund provided much-needed support to almost 28,000 residents across the city, with more expected to benefit from this latest round, as the crises deepens.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland Labour Group and Sunderland City Council, said: “While the Prime Minister brags in speeches about snatching funds from deprived areas and giving it to well-off areas in the South, it is communities like ours that are once again forced to pick up the bill.

“Millions of working families across the country are being left to fend for themselves this winter due to the Conservative Government’s abject failure to get to grips with the cost-of-living crisis. While support has been made available to help those on state benefits, we have thousands of people across our city who are employed but have been left behind by the current system.

“By setting aside funding from the Household Support Fund to support organisations providing vital access to food and warm spaces, we’re ensuring that, as the nights get darker and the days get colder, we are doing absolutely everything we can to ensure no resident is left behind.”

According to research by the Living Wage Foundation last month, over half (56%) of low-paid workers reported using foodbanks over the last 12 months, with 63% of low-paid food bank users saying their use had increased during this period.

While support has been put in place from the Government to support those on Universal Credit and the unemployed, millions of workers across the UK in low paid employment have found themselves failing to meet the threshold for support, forcing them into food and fuel poverty.

The findings also revealed that almost half of low-paid workers (42%) are now regularly skipping meals due to financial pressures, up 10% since January, with 32% saying they are now unable to heat their homes, an increase of 9% since January.

The organisations set to receive funding from the project include:

The Box Youth & Community Project
Youth Almighty Project
Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project
Community Opportunities
Active Families NE
Sunderland BME Network
Grace House
Sunderland & County Durham Royal Society for The Blind
Veterans In Crisis