Published 30 June 2022

Residents are being urged to make sure they know where and how they can access support if they are struggling with the rising cost of living.

A checklist detailing a number of actions that can be taken to mitigate soaring costs has been published as part of West Dunbartonshire Council's effort to support those hardest hit.

Information includes various different state benefits, tips for reducing the cost of the school day, support for parents, guidance on what to do if you are unable to pay rent and advice for carers.

The list also details how to access free childcare, how to get help with fuel bills and support with food.

Last week, West Dunbartonshire Council announced a package of support to for communities.

The pioneering initiative will see a range of different projects launched to assist with rising costs including the creation of a £1million Cost of Living Fund.

The fund will initially be used to provide an additional £1000 per week to West Dunbartonshire foodbanks; free summer swimming for school pupils; free all-inclusive family leisure memberships from July to August for vulnerable families identified by Working4U; free West Dunbartonshire Leisure gym access over summer for 14-18 year old pupils; and support for the Recycle Room in Clydebank, a community group which takes unwanted items and redistributes to those in need.

Other investments include the creation of a household energy fund of £250,000 and an innovative partnership with major energy suppliers to ensure residents experiencing significant levels of fuel poverty, receive support and early intervention to maintain their utility supply.

Council Leader, Councillor Martin Rooney said: "A vital part of our drive to support our communities through the cost of living crisis is ensuring that there is clear and accessible information on how to get help if they need it.

"It has been estimated that £15billion worth of benefits go unclaimed in the UK every year, while more than 120,000 households in Scotland don't claim for Pension Credit they are eligible for because they don't know they are entitled. If you already receive pension credit then you would be eligible for an additional £650 cost of living support.

"I would encourage all residents to have a look through this checklist to ensure they are not missing out on anything they are entitled to receive, as well as making sure they know where to seek guidance and support."

Deputy Council Leader, Councillor Michelle McGinty, who is also the Chair of the newly established cross-party Cost of Living Working Group, added: "We know it's a difficult time for so many of our residents, who are struggling with fuel and food bills and existing debt. This checklist is designed to reassure them there is help available, and make sure they are aware of where to look for it.

"Our Working4U team do a great deal of work to support residents, whether it is income maximisation, support with benefit claims or employability guidance including upskilling. Please don't suffer in silence, we are here to help."

The Cost of Living | West Dunbartonshire Council ( checklist is now available.