As energy companies hike up their charges this spring and autumn and as the prices of fuel and everyday items continue to rise, Labour councillors and activists continue to find ways to support the community. It was only 6 months ago that the disastrous Liz Truss budget added thousands to the annual bills of many households. You can read examples below of initiatives we have set up that provide vital help to those who have come to need it most and have something to offer to all in the community.
The Labour-led Town Council has increased its grant to Citizen’s Advice and Labour councillors on District Council prioritise adequate funding for CA too. Labour councillors will be looking for ways to ease residents’ burden in all the workings of the three councils. For more information on Labour’s plans to ease the cost of living nationally, see here.
Local Labour councillors founded Witney Baby Bank and Witney Land Army and, alongside a wonderful range of volunteers, also volunteer at Witney Food Revolution which combines the Community Fridge with the SOFEA Community Larder scheme. These organisations were key sources of help for residents during the lockdowns, and Baby Bank and the Food Revolution continue to support and supplement those most in need of help with the cost of living. Of course Witney also has a busy Trussel Trust Food Bank and other charities that meet such needs. Added together, many in the town were struggling to make ends meet even before the 2022 hike in living costs.
Labour Councillors are active on your behalf both in the District and County Councils. There is a district wide cost-of-living crisis plan led by Cllr Joy Aitman (Lab. Witney East) which is now being implemented in partnership with local organisations. Joy is executive member of WODC with a busy Stronger Healthier Community portfolio
In Chipping Norton, the Chippy Larder provides a pivotal community hub aiming to alleviate poverty. It’s another initiative founded by a Labour councillor but supported by a wide range of volunteers. As well as distributing surplus food to SOFEA members, they give food to households who are financially vulnerable. They support community events such as suppers and cooking together.
We all wish the social security system left no household without essentials, but the reality for many is stark. We find ways to help, working with people from across all political standpoints to achieve it.
EMPOWERING THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HELPING TO REBUILD WITNEY
Our town is lucky to have so many brilliant local businesses, charities and groups, and as a Labour Town Council we’ve been proud to support them. This includes partnering with and working alongside community organisations to revitalise facilities at the Leys and West Witney, and facilitating voluntary groups at the Corn Exchange. Our vision for Witney is all about people,by lifting and empowering our community, we will ensure that everybody benefits.
It’s brilliant to see some proactive change at Marriott’s Walk Shopping Centre since West Oxfordshire District Council became its owners. Stores should expect more for their service charges, to deliver high impact, to bring higher footfall, to deliver better trading and contribute to a sustainable town centre for local businesses. With the public design & consultation on the high street starting after these