£19m Council cost of living package given a £100k boost to support residents with free food and activities this winter | Westminster City Council Skip to main content

£19m Council cost of living package given a £100k boost to support residents with free food and activities this winter

A box with food items inside

With the cold weather approaching, Westminster City Council has re-launched its campaign ‘Winter in the City’, which will provide an additional £100k to the existing £19m cost of living package. This new funding will support community centres and local venues providing residents with food and free activities.

The Winter in the City programme promotes free activities that are taking place in the city including cooking classes, table tennis, pilates and arts and crafts in warm and safe environments for local people. A range of venues from community centres and libraries to Somerset House and the Supreme Court, are opening their doors to Westminster communities.

A few of the organisations welcoming people this winter with food and free activities are:

  • Westminster Libraries
  • North Paddington Food Bank
  • Westbourne Park Baptist Church
  • The Abbey Centre
  • Emmanuel Church
  • Mary Smith’s Pantry

Thomas Delap, Head of North Paddington Foodbank said:

Westminster Council has played a pivotal role in helping NPFB address the cost-of-living crisis by providing us with crucial funding. Their support enabled us to respond effectively to the urgent needs of our community and offer a lifeline to families and individuals struggling to navigate the challenges posed by the crisis. Since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, 30% of the referrals received by NPFB have been from households seeking food aid for the very first time. In response to this growing crisis, NPFB in partnership with Westminster Council has taken substantial measures to provide immediate assistance and alleviate the hardships faced by our community. Over the course of this year, we extended support to 11,339 households, guiding them through the many challenges brought about by the cost-of-living crisis."

The council launched its cost-of-living strategy last year to help Westminster households, a quarter of which (31,000) acutely feel the effects of a living standards crisis due to high costs of energy bills and food. Over the last year, the council has funded several initiatives which offer direct support to Westminster residents including a hardship fund, free school meals and discounted uniforms, Discretionary Housing Payments, and energy vouchers.

Cllr David Boothroyd, Cabinet Member for Finance and Council Reform, said:

We know that a quarter of our residents in Westminster are feeling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, and that is why we are stepping in to support as many people as we can, once again, this winter. Our Winter in the City programme will offer what people need in these difficult times, a warm place for respite and support with free and low-cost food. We’re working with our communities and businesses in the city to ensure no one in Westminster goes hungry or cold this winter.”

Information about free events and warm venues can be found through the council’s interactive online map of the city.

Additional help for residents regarding the cost-of-living crisis can be found on the council’s website.

Published: 27 October 2023