Elmbridge cost of living roundtable
Coming together with a single voice of support for Elmbridge
Charities, faith groups and voluntary sector organisations joined Elmbridge Borough Council on Monday 31 October for a roundtable discussion on how to further support the Elmbridge community during the cost-of-living crisis.
Adam Chalmers, Chief Executive of Elmbridge Borough Council, welcomed everyone to the session, the aim of which was listening to and hearing from community partners, as “we embark on long-term support for residents”. The need to ‘identify gaps in support’ was expressed, especially as the perceived high quality of life in Elmbridge is not the full picture, in fact 12% of Elmbridge households have an annual gross income of £20k or less and over 4,000 households are on Universal Credit (May 2022).
Councillor Chris Sadler, Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, expressed his gratitude at the breadth of provision that Elmbridge has through its voluntary, charity and faith sectors.
Councillor Bruce McDonald, Deputy Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, thanked everyone for the work they are already doing in providing a “local safety net” for the Elmbridge community.
Key speaker at the roundtable session was Jackie Lodge, CEO of Walton Charity, who told the group of the shame and embarrassment that poverty brings to people - the fear, the anxiety and the lasting long-term mental health impact should not be underestimated. There are “no silver bullets” but ‘dignity and respect’ are key when supporting the community, she explained.
Four breakout sessions where then established for more in-depth discussion and exchanging of ideas. We heard that recruitment into the charity sector is incredibly difficult at the moment as people’s resilience has diminished, and they seek self-employment and an alternative lifestyle in other parts of the country for example. We heard how this emergency needs to focus on people and less on processes and ‘red-tape’, allowing people to access support at ‘time of need’. We heard how all groups and organisations need to come together with a single voice of support for our residents.
Coming back together again, the group resolved to undertake the following actions:
- To quickly develop an action plan focusing on the long-term support for the Elmbridge community.
- To ensure residents know of the support available from all organisation and groups.
- And above all - to keep the conversation going. It doesn’t start and stop with one roundtable discussion.
- Ashford & St Peter’s Hospital
- Central Surrey Voluntary Action
- Citizens Advice, Esher
- Citizens Advice, West
- Cobham Foodbank
- East Elmbridge Foodbank
- Elmbridge Eco Hub
- Elmbridge Home Start
- Elmbridge Rentstart
- Epsom & St Helier
- Family Centre
- Lower Green Centre
- Multi Faith Forum
- PA Housing
- Surrey County Council
- Walton & Hersham Foodbank
- Walton Charity
For more information on the support available, please visit our cost of living suport hub.