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Cost of living: Help over the Christmas period

Christmas is just around the corner and while many people are looking forward to the festivities ahead others may be finding it a more difficult time than usual and be looking for help.

It’s been a challenging year for many with the cost of living, freezing temperatures and energy bills – but local help and support is at hand across the borough over the Christmas break.

Foodbanks

Foodbanks will be open as usual, for those who already have a referral to the service. The Greenford centre however, will be closed on both Bank Holiday Mondays (26 December and 2 January). The Southall Dominion Chapel centre will be open on Christmas Eve but closed on New Year’s Eve.

Ealing Soup Kitchen

Ealing Soup Kitchen will be open at St John’s Church on Mattock Lane from 11am-3.30pm on 23 and 24 December, from 2-9pm on Christmas Day and 6-8pm on Boxing Day. Over New Year, the service will be open 12.30-3pm on 30 December, 3.30-5pm New Year’s Eve, 3.30-5pm New Year’s Day, and 6-8pm on 2 January.

There are a number of changes to council services over the Christmas/New Year period, from social care and recycling, to homelessness.

Information about other local support services can be found using the online community directory.

“We can support each other”

Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for thriving communities said: “Covid showed us how our communities rose to a collective challenge, and how we can support each other during tough times. Helping and supporting is the role of both the council, individuals and many third party organisations. There’s no need to feel isolated or alone at Christmas, and there are services which may be able to help.”

Support services 24/7

If you are in distress or danger over the holiday period, you can call 999 in an emergency. If you cannot speak, you can cough or if prompted by the call operator you can answer questions by coughing or pressing buttons. You can also press 55 to alert the call handler that it’s an emergency.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24/7 and you can call them on 0808 2000 247.

Ways to ask for help

With Christmas parties in full swing, it’s also important to get home safely. “Ask for Angela” is a scheme where you can seek help in an uncomfortable situation. If you are being harassed or feel unsafe in a public venue such as a pub or restaurant, you can approach a member of staff in a venue and ask for “Angela”. This codeword alerts staff that you need assistance.

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