Community spaces for Kingston residents to help with the cost of living crisis

Kingston Council has curated a list of community spaces, support services and food banks, where residents can access help and support to help ease the impact of the cost of living crisis.

A spokesperson for Kingston Council said that cost of living support is covered by two departments within the council, with two dedicated webpages, specifically designed to signpost support local residents.

They said: “Firstly, the cost of living pages on the website, which primarily targets services that the council can support on, and secondly the Connected Kingston website, which primarily covers the wider voluntary and community support available.”

Many of the spaces listed on the Kingston Council website are supported and funded by them, and many have arisen from the community having spotted a need and developed a response to it.

One such place is the Living Well Hub, which operates every Thursday at the United Reform Church in New Malden.

The Living Well Hub has support and advice from a number of organisations, including benefit advisors and healthcare professionals.

They provide a subsidised hot lunch, as well as cakes and hot drinks which are made by the hub’s volunteers.

The council has also listed UK Harvest, which aims to educate people on food nutrition, cookery skills and ways to reduce household food waste.

UK Harvest offers free sessions to all members in the local community to help reduce waste and save money.

The team who developed the sessions are professional chefs, qualified nutritionists, experienced teachers and food waste experts.

Andrew Dicker, logistics manager for UK harvest said: “We also take and collect food from donating growers and supermarkets and help to support all different people across many regions, which is arranged through local councils.

“We provide hot meals in many places and serve around 200 people a day, as well as places where people can get bags of food, free of charge.”

Some of the services are designed to keep people connected and encourage socialisation.

Vintage Banquet is aimed at people over 60 to join for lunch, talk about their experiences and make new friends.

The Chatty Café scheme is held weekly for the purpose of getting people to socialise and CLICK is held on Tuesday evenings and offers sensory activities, arts and crafts, baking, discussions and exercises for anyone to attend.

Phillipa Carriques, manager of the Click Café, said: “Our purpose is to combat loneliness and isolation of the local residents in Kingston, in particular the elderly and those with disabilities.”

Carriques said that they help between 10 to 16 people a day and the café is run by volunteers, all of whom have disabilities themselves.

The council spokesman said: “Some of the more successful groups have developed into community spaces that are not specifically linked to cost of living and many now operate all year round.

“These spaces are sustaining themselves and provide non-stigmatising spaces for residents to be.”

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