People who have never needed to contact the council for help before are being urged to get in touch, if they are concerned about what lies ahead for them and their families in the coming months.
It follows increasing concerns that many people will be desperately trying to make ends meet and struggling increasingly with financial issues brought on by Covid-19 pressures.
And with mortgage payments, rents or utility bills often being ignored when finances are tight, Stafford Borough Council is appealing for people to get in contact now to see what help may be available to support them through difficult times.
Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health at the Borough Council, said there was a ‘perfect storm’ of issues coming which needed to be addressed before it is too late to help and as the options available to people reduce dramatically over time.
He said: “People may be out of work for the first time in their life, others may have lost contracts or had hours and pay cut – and they may be struggling financially, worrying about the months ahead as the availability of work gets tighter. They will be making difficult decisions prioritising their finances – and often fuel bills and mortgage or rental payments get pushed to one side.
“The difficulty is they may be people who have never been faced with these desperate financial decisions - and never needed to contact us to ask for help and support. They may feel embarrassed to admit the situation that they are in. They will not know the advice, support or even financial help that may be on offer. And, even if we can’t help directly, we may well know an organisation or group that can.
“With colder weather coming, a recent rise in the number of cases of Coronavirus, the financial pressures that Christmas can bring, and with the potential of restrictions in place for some months to come which will impact our local economy – it becomes a perfect storm of issues.”
He added: “We know there will be growing numbers of people in our borough who will find themselves in this situation and I am pleading with them not to remain silent.
“We can only help by having that conversation with you and to understand the help you need.”
The borough council has set up a ‘Talk to Us’ page on its website to start the ball rolling and will be holding a series of webinars to provide information to community leaders and voluntary groups, helping them to help their residents navigate the support on offer and by providing guidance that may help in having some of those conversations with residents.
Press Release No 5698