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Cost of living support

Council pledges £50k to help tackle cost of living

Test Valley Borough Council has created a new £50k Cost of Living Grant scheme to help organisations that are supporting people who are struggling with rising costs.

TVBC chiefs agreed to create the new funding pot at a cabinet meeting on Thursday 29 September. The scheme is currently being finalised and once live, local organisations will be able to bid for a share of the money.

The move follows a special meeting of the Test Valley Partnership in August, which was hosted jointly by the leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, and leader of the opposition, Councillor Celia Dowden. The meeting brought together a host of different organisations, including Citizens Advice Test Valley, Hampshire County Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Andover Foodbank and Romsey Community Services.

Following the meeting, the council set up a Cost of Living Support Hub, which provides useful information and signposts people to the various agencies and groups that can offer a range of help, from local food banks to financial advice. The information can be found at

The partnership also agreed to take forward various other actions and projects over the coming months that will help organisations to provide targeted aid to residents and make it as easy as possible for people to access the support they need when they need it.

Leader of TVBC, Councillor Phil North, said: “Many of our residents, and the country as a whole, are facing a particularly tough winter. It is critical that we do everything in our power to support people through what may be one of the most challenging periods they have ever faced.

“I am pleased to say that there is already a huge amount of help out there and some truly fantastic organisations providing critical support to those in need. And this grant scheme is there to ensure they are in the best position to provide that help and are able to increase their capacity to deal with the extra demand.”

Leader of the opposition, Councillor Celia Dowden, added: “The organisations that will benefit from this funding are very much on the frontline, and so it is important that we do all we can to support them, so they can in turn support those impacted by the rising cost of living. This absolutely needs to be a team effort, to make sure that we can each maximise our impact and help one another to get through this. I welcome the creation of this new grant scheme and look forward to TVBC rolling it out very soon.”