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Supporting Customers With The Cost of Living

Partners come together to help local people

A special Cost of Living support event provided Castle Vale residents with direct access to services to help them meet their daily needs.

Co-ordinated by The Pioneer Group, the event, held at The Sanctuary, featured a range of organisations including Severn Trent, Spurgeons, Advance Credit Union and SJ Solutions. Also in attendance was West Midlands Fire Service, the Community Environmental Trust, Spitfire Advice and Guidance and teams from Castle Vale Community Housing and Compass Support.

Alan Crawford, Pioneer’s Head of Social Investment and Community Governance, said the event succeeded in raising people’s awareness of the help that’s available to them.

“I’m very aware that it can be tricky for people to navigate around lots of different services, particularly when they are experiencing worry and angst about their financial situation,” he said.

“We thought the best way to address this was to bring all of these services into one space so people were able to leave the room with multiple ideas on where to get help and save money.”

Feedback from the event has been very positive.

Jane Roche, Operations Manager at Spitfire Services, commented: “A big pat on the back to everyone involved, it was the best event we have been to in a long time.

“The attendance was fantastic. It was an enjoyable evening for everyone, clients and staff.”

Mortgage Consultant, Becky Sadler, echoed those sentiments.

“The event was very well organised and beneficial to local residents, we would love to be invited back to future events.”

Severn Trent’s Relationships Co-ordinator, Debbie Gardner, added: “I found the event really useful to engage with our customers face to face. It was very well attended by both organisations and customers.  During the evening, I spoke to several customers who had queries about their water bill, which I was able to resolve for them.”

Anika Sarna, Community Network Support Officer for Sutton Coldfield Constituency, said engagement was key to the success of the event.

“Residents really appreciated the essential bags that I gave out to them,” she said.

“I was able to promote my role, with one person from the event subsequently contacting me for some advice. It was great to network with other professionals.”

West Midlands Fire Service was also represented at the event. Lyndon Flavell, based at Erdington Fire Station, said: “We found it great to see what’s on offer in the Castle Vale community and meet up with partners who we have links with. It will help make work streams better for us and for the communities we serve.”

Indy Johal from the Advance Credit Union, was similarly grateful for the opportunity.

“I met some great people today in the community from many organisations,” she said while Ezzat Mosavi, Youth and Environment Officer for the Community Environmental Trust commented, “the cost-of-living crisis has become increasingly prevalent, affecting families and individuals worldwide. It is a complex problem that requires long-term solutions and providing this type of event for people helps to support our community as a whole.

“During the event I was able to network with other organisations, which was great for sign posting people to the correct support they may need.

“It was a fantastic event and wonderful to hear all the positive feedback from everyone involved. I’m already looking forward to the next one!”