Council hosts Cost of Living Summit

Edition: March 2024

Cost of Living Summit

We hosted a Cost of Living Summit at Ashington Community Centre in January.
This provided a rare opportunity for representatives from over 40 local community support groups and organisations working in the District to get together.

The event recognised the valuable insight these largely voluntary services have through their work supporting residents on a daily basis. We wanted to listen to the issues and challenges that they encounter and look for ways to address them and work better together.

Listening and learning

Keynote presentations were by Horsham Matters and Citizens Advice. Horsham Matters shared results of their recent poverty survey while Citizens Advice addressed the changing needs of residents locally.

Key issues

The key issues that came out of the event were:

  • Improving access to services for residents – knowing where to find information, being digitally excluded, finding transport options or getting past the stigma associated with asking for help.
  • Finding ways for community support groups to deal with rising costs – through more network and information sharing, collaborative working and resource and space sharing ideas.
  • Increasing the volunteer base for community support organisations – Organisations need more volunteers – especially skilled volunteers – to support their work. We are finding innovative ways to recruit the right people.

CEO of Citizens Advice West Sussex Emma Cross commented:

“It has been really beneficial for us all to meet face to face at this event, not just to share our knowledge and problems but we’ve come away with solutions, fresh ways forward, and feeling re-energised to keep supporting Horsham District residents now and in the future!”

CEO of Horsham Matters Emma Elnaugh (pictured here with here colleague) added,

“The Cost of Living Summit has been a great opportunity for community service providers to come together around a common aim.”

Emma Elnaugh

The Summit has given us a really good basis to help steer the work of our Communities teams going forward, on how we can make life easier, both for vulnerable and struggling residents and the community support organisations helping them.

Support for you

Just one of the key challenges highlighted was improving access to information. So look out for our ‘Did You Know?’ snippets throughout the magazine. They highlight extra support that we all could be entitled to which any of us may have missed. And do spread the word by passing these onto your family, friends and neighbours.

If you follow us online, you’ll also see these ‘Did You Know?’ posts on our Facebook page, where we are continuing to share information to reach as many people as possible.

Did you know?

Citizens Advice offer digital and pre-booked face-to-face appointments in Horsham, Pulborough, Steyning, Henfield, Billingshurst and Storrington.

Find out more or contact Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7969.

Further information

We have also made some changes to our webpages to help make it easier for residents to find information about the support available.

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