Published on

16 August 2023

£40,000 awarded to help people struggling with cost of living

Six organisations have been awarded funding to help Wokingham Borough residents struggling with the cost of living crisis

Two Home Start volunteers help young people with tabletop learning and activities

Six organisations have been awarded funding to help Wokingham Borough residents struggling with the cost of living crisis.

It’s thanks to public donations, match funded by Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham United Charities, as part of the Surviving Winter crowdfund.

Almost £70,000 was raised between January and March, with support from Berkshire Community Foundation.

Grant applications from local groups were considered by a panel from the council, Wokingham United Charities and Berkshire Community Foundation, earlier this year.

Making a difference to those in need

The organisations helping residents thanks to the Surviving Winter crowdfund will be:

  • The Cowshed - £10,000 to provide ongoing support for 250 residents with access to essential items
  • First Days Children’s Charity - £5,000 to cover one day a week of a family support worker for one year. This would cover all of the work required to assess applications for beds and bedding and get beds into the homes of 300 children throughout the year
  • Home Start Wokingham District - £10,000 to recruit, train and supervise volunteers to work with families with at least one child aged five or younger
  • The Salvation Army Wokingham - £10,000 to help with community outreach to those dealing with homelessness, living in temporary accommodation, needing tenancy support or struggling to access benefits
  • SHARE Wokingham - £5,000 for storage and packing, cleaning items and running costs to support 13 food sites, helping about 1,500 people each week
  • Yeldall Manor Good Samaritan Fund - £3,000 to help men that cannot obtain funding to access residential rehabilitation for drug or alcohol addiction
Wide view of the entrance of Yeldall Manor in Wargrave

'Match funding has made a huge difference'

Cllr Rachel Bishop-Firth, executive member for equalities, inclusion and fighting poverty, said: “Thousands of families across the area are having to make difficult choices - such as making enough food for the whole house or paying for bills and other daily essentials.

“We’d like to thank all the residents who came forward to donate, especially in the current financial crisis. Match funding from Wokingham United Charities and the council has helped make the most of the donations to have the biggest impact impossible.

“These grants mean hundreds and hundreds of families will be able to get extra help to put them in a good position ahead of next winter.”

'Charities continue to make a massive difference'

Amy Garstang, manager at Wokingham United Charities, said: “Wokingham Borough’s charities have made a massive difference to thousands of residents since the cost of living crisis began to hit home last year.

“This funding will see The Cowshed, First Days, Home Start, SHARE, The Salvation Army and Yeldall Manor all continue to help those most in need in our borough in the months ahead.”

Jon Yates, chief executive officer at Berkshire Community Foundation, said: “The Surviving Winter fund has enabled these five organisations to provide support to their communities in Wokingham Borough.

“We know households across the county continue to see massive impacts due to the cost of living crisis, initiatives like these make sure no one gets left behind because of them.”

Future funding rounds

Applications to access the rest of the fund will reopen in the autumn.

Almost £30,000 is still available for community groups to come forward and apply for funding to run projects which help residents with the impacts of the cost of living crisis.

All the latest cost of living help and advice for the borough can be found on the cost of living help hub.

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