Standing together to support the cost of living crisis in Brighton & Hove

Council leaders, public partners, charities and city businesses got together this week to discuss working together to support the city through the cost of living crisis.

The latest data confirms that poverty in the city is considerably worse than before the pandemic, with groups with protected characteristic and single parent households some of the most vulnerable.

The aim of the ‘summit’, held at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday 24 January, was to bring together leaders from business, community and voluntary groups, and public services to gain a shared understanding of the cost of living crisis and explore ideas and actions for how we, as a city, can respond collectively.

The summit was agreed by councillors in the autumn as part of the measures to support residents and businesses through the crisis, to share intelligence, co-ordinate support, and identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration and the city’s collective response.

Presentations included the impact on business from Gavin Stewart of the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership and Brighton Business Improvement District, and an update on the impact on food and energy from Vic Borrill of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and Kayla Ente of Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative.

Many great ideas for collaboration were discussed and there was a renewed appetite for partnership working across the city.

The next stage is to pull together the ideas into a shared plan that will support cross sector collaboration in the years ahead.

Standing together

Leader of the Council, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, said: “It was heartening to see colleagues from all sectors in the city coming together to discuss a crisis of burning concern to businesses, community organisations and residents alike.

“We heard first-hand how this winter is already horrifically tough for many. It’s a crisis that will be here for the long term and require us all to work together to inoculate our city from the worst effects of the crisis.

“Despite the brutal context, like many partners at the summit, the council is straining every sinew to do all we can for residents and businesses.

“We will continue to do that but faced with continuing government funding cuts, the highest inflation in a generation and unprecedented demand for our services, there are logical limits. 

“We've set up a cost of living hub with clear information about financial advice, benefits, emergency help, free school meals, warm places and advice on staying safe and well.

“An astonishing 6,000 people in Brighton & Hove are supported every week through community emergency food providers such as foodbanks. Demand has never been higher, even at the height of the pandemic.

“We’re doing what we can to maintain emergency food provision and support affordable food schemes in locations like children’s centres.

“In these challenging times, the response from individuals and groups has been inspiring.

“Last spring, we worked with Brighton & Hove Citizens Advice Bureau and the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership to set up the cost of living crisis appeal to provide help for residents with vouchers, food parcels and advice and support.

“The appeal has been a huge success, with almost £74,000 raised so far.

“The compassion in our community is just one of the many brilliant distinguishing factors for Brighton & Hove.

“As we witnessed at the summit, I know our city will continue to stand together despite all of our challenges.”

Support with cost of living

You can find information on money advice, support with energy bills and advice about how to keep your home warm and save energy in our support with the cost of living web pages.

This includes information about whether you’re eligible for discounts on energy bills, and advice and tips and about saving energy and keeping your home warm

Our warm welcome directory has information about free indoor activities and places resident can go across the city this winter to keep warm.

We’ve also got information on emergency help and money advice and health and wellbeing support

Cost of living crisis appeal

We worked with Brighton & Hove Citizen Advice and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership to help set up a cost of living appeal – aiming to raise money to help residents struggling with food and energy costs through vouchers, food parcels, and low energy items like electric blankets and slow cookers.

The Just Giving campaign has raised an incredible £74,000 so far. Thank you to everyone who has donated.

To find out more or donate to the appeal, visit the Brighton & Hove Cost of Living Crisis Appeal JustGiving page.

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