A local Labour councillor spent her ward grant to help keep families warm this winter as temperatures plummet and the cost-of-living crisis bites.
Labour Councillor Emily Darlington, who represents Bletchley East, spent the full £1,000 buying hundreds of blankets and duvets to form part of ‘Winter Warmer Packs’ that are given to the ward’s most vulnerable residents.
The Winter Warmer Packs consist of the blankets and duvets, gloves, hot water bottles, and other items to help those on the lowest incomes.
Councillor Emily Darlington said: “It’s heart-breaking that many people across my ward are faced with the harsh reality of choosing between heating their homes, skipping meals, or putting themselves in crippling debt. The City Council is doing all it can to support the most vulnerable through the cost-of-living crisis, with millions of pounds in direct support coming this year, but in the meantime, I hope these Winter Warmer Packs will help provide immediate relief from the cold.”
The Winter Warmer Packs are usually handed out at the City Council’s money saving advice sessions, which sees residents attend Spotlight Community Centre to meet various organisations and hear advice on how they can reduce their spending. City Council officers, council housing maintenance contractor MEARS, older people’s charity Age UK, and debt advice service MK Money Lifeline are among the partners at the weekly events.
Mariee Wymer, Chair of the Lakes Estate Residents’ Association, has helped put the packs together and gives them to vulnerable residents known to the community. She said:
“These Winter Warmer Packs have become a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable people living in the Lakes Estate. People have been able to pick what they need and they’ve made a real difference during this winter’s cold spell. I’d like to thank Councillor Darlington for donating many blankets and duvets that people otherwise would struggle to afford.”
This comes as many families, especially those living in deprived areas of the city, may struggle to heat their homes due to skyrocketing energy bills and soaring inflation. The poorest households have £40 a month less to spare than a year ago, showing how the cost-of-living crisis is hitting those on low-incomes the most.