If you’re anything like me, you will be turning on the news with a feeling of dread. The cost-of-living crisis is rightly dominating the headlines, as people wonder how they are going to pay their bills or put food on the table.
I’m clear that the Government must be doing more to support those who need it most. I’m proud that here in Greater Manchester the 10 local authorities have worked collaboratively to agree a package of support measures. This strategy includes a new service called ‘Helping Hand’, which aims to give people the support they need to access a variety of services to help with food bills, energy, childcare costs, and more.
The measures also come with an increase in the number of Emergency Food Vouchers for young people, as well as a continuation of the No Child Should Go Hungry campaign and the cross-sector Greater Manchester Food Security Action Network. To find out more visit https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/helping-hand/
Alongside this political action, I’ve been really inspired by how communities have rallied to help friends and neighbours. For example, I’ve been a long-time supporter of Re:Dish, a wonderful charity that is built on community volunteers. Their food bank is based at the Bairstow Centre on Rupert Street and is open 10:30am – 12:30pm on Thursday’s and Saturday. Crucially, the charity also provides wraparound services to improve wellbeing, learn new skills and more.
In these worrying times, it’s important to recognise local people who are going above and beyond. I would be lying if I said that the current crisis wasn’t giving me sleepless nights, and as soon as Parliament returns, I’ll be the first to strongly challenge the Government on what they plan to do to help the people I represent. In the absence of a national strategy, however, I couldn’t be proud of the ongoing work local people and elected representatives are doing across Greater Manchester, and here in Reddish and the Heatons.