Studies on how groups can unite to respond to cost of living

March 19, 2024 - 474 views

The Building a Healthier Wales group, a partnership working together to promote prevention measures across all areas of health, have released case studies designed to demonstrate how organisations have been able to make a difference in their communities. 

The case studies are specifically related to alleviating the impact of the cost of living crisis, and showcase the learnings from activity that has already taken place. 

Case studies include a project carried out by the Children’s Hospital Alliance which is designed to reduce the impact of family food poverty during hospital stays.  It had been identified that some families with children requiring long term stays in hospital were struggling financially because they had to take lengthy amounts of time off work. 

The project created food voucher and meal provision schemes across a range of hospital sites, which allowed clinical staff to provide parents in need with free or subsidised meals on site, helping them to save costs. 

Another project based on Anglesey aims to help tackle food poverty by providing free good quality, locally produced ready meals to families in need via freezers in ten community hubs across the island – focusing on deprived rural areas. Community leaders attached to each hub helped to identify people who could benefit from the project and would coordinate personal deliveries if possible. 

The project was in response to food poverty being a known local issue, and used microwave meals to overcome typical issues with food distribution, as well as a lack of cooking knowledge. 

The suite of nine different case studies cover the major themes highlighted at the All-Wales Cost of Living summit in March 2023 – food, energy and housing, income and debt, mental health and well-being, and health and care. 

Councillor Norma Mackie, Deputy Spokesperson for Health and Social Services of the Welsh Local Government Association and chair of the Building a Healthier Wales Group, said: “With local authority budgets being squeezed ever tighter and councils having to do more with less, it is really important to be able to demonstrate that innovations have already had a positive impact elsewhere, as it reduces the risk that is associated with taken on these vital projects. 

“The cost of living crisis is affecting every local authority in Wales, and it’s important that we look to as many measures as possible to help to make a difference to our residents.  These examples, along with the learnings that come with them, will be really helpful for local authorities in their planning.” 

Jonathan Morgan, Vice chair of Building a Healthier Wales, added: “It is clear that these projects show the benefits of working together with partner organisations and establishing the needs of the specific local communities, in order to develop solutions that work effectively. 

“We hope that other organisations across Wales will be able to take these case studies as examples to develop similar projects to help vulnerable groups with the impact of the cost of living crisis.”