Published 19th December 2022
As we approach the festive period, many of us would usually come together with family to exchange gifts and eat a big Christmas meal.
This year, things for many won’t be the same.
The cost-of-living crisis is affecting people in different ways across Islwyn. People have been forced to make the heartbreaking choice between eating or heating.
Now, people cannot afford to do either.
I recently met with representatives from the Caerphilly Unison branch in parliament and they shared a shocking statistic with me. The TUC found that 1 in 5 people in Islwyn have missed a meal or gone without food during this crisis.
Food banks have become a staple in our communities, and I know many people will be relying on them this winter.
However, as this crisis continues, a new norm is developing – warm banks.
People who are struggling to warm their homes are turning to churches, libraries and community centres who are generously opening their doors, offering people a hot meal and a cup of tea. Many who use them will have several jobs but still struggle to pay their energy bills, and now are struggling to pay for food.
Although this is a very worrying time for so many there is help available.
Warm Welcome, one of the campaign groups kindly opening their doors, has opened 16 banks in the Caerphilly area. You can find your nearest warm bank by inputting your postcode at warmwelcome.uk
Caerphilly County Borough Council have also announced a £3 million Cost of Living Hardship fund for those struggling in Islwyn and across our borough. Last week, I raised this with the Prime Minister during PMQs to recognise the great work the council are doing.
I also asked the Prime Minister if he thinks the UK government should follow the lead of the Caerphilly County Borough Council and offer more support for people struggling with the cost of living across the UK.
Across Islwyn, and the wider borough, there are people doing amazing work to help others and I am immensely proud. I do hope as we move forward into the New Year, more support to tackle the cost-of-living crisis will become available. This crisis cannot be allowed to go into 2023.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope for a better New Year.