Dealing with the cost-of-living crisis in Tyne and Wear
Tyne and Wear Sight Loss Council (SLC) ran an event for local blind and partially sighted residents on 25 August to offer advice on the cost-of-living crisis and allow them to share their concerns.
Tyne and Wear SLC instigated this event because its members recognised the cost-of-living crisis is a key concern for many blind and partially sighted (BPS) people. This is because they already face additional unavoidable costs, such as for taxi journeys, assistive technology and support in the home.
At the event, delegates received advice on benefits, grants they may be entitled to, and money saving and budgeting tips. They also had the opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns. Guest speakers from RNIB , Newcastle Vision Support , and Citizens Advice Northumberland joined the conversation and helped to alleviate some of the concerns raised.
Sight Loss Council member, Hazel Hyland, who opened the event, said:
“The cost of essentials like food, electricity, and gas, are getting ever more expensive. Our Sight Loss Council wants to let blind and partially sighted people across Tyne & Wear know about the help and support available, as well as provide some useful tips on getting the most for your money. We also want to hear what people are most concerned about as we head into winter.”
Feedback from people attending the event was really positive. This includes that they felt they had learnt something new, understood better where to turn to for support, and that they would encourage others to come to similar events of this type.
SLC member Tonia explained:
“I would come to another event of this type, even if it was to support someone else. I think today was fantastic and a real opportunity to learn new information, for example about smart meters, and benefits for fuel payments.”
SLC member Hazel added:
“I learnt about accessible talking smart meters for the first time and will contact my supplier as a result. I also liked the size of this event; in that it was small enough to have discussion and a talk afterwards.”
BPS delegate Jonathan added:
“It was good to learn about the different organisations and understand who you could turn to. This includes about changes that are coming up for benefits. For example, I didn’t realise the PIP was being replaced with a different benefit. I also wasn’t sure what was happening regarding other benefits. It has allayed some fears and I now understand it better.”
Another delegate added:
“It’s been of great benefit to know what is going on and learn more about the help and support you can get. I’ve learnt new things today that I really could have done with knowing earlier this year when I needed some support.” (Anon)
Sight Loss Councils plan to run future cost of living events in West Yorkshire, and a joint one in Bristol and Gloucestershire. Full details will be published on our events page , Facebook and Twitter soon.
If you are struggling with the cost of living, then the best first port of call is Citizens Advice who can help you find out what support you might be eligible for.
Publication date: 08 September 2022