A Fairer Stockton-on-Tees
A Fairer Stockton-on-Tees (FSOT) is the strategic framework for tackling inequalities in the Borough. The impact of inequalities is significant and impacts on quality of life, life chances and life expectancy. We have affluent areas alongside disadvantaged areas in the Borough. Nine of our 26 wards are in the 10% most deprived in the country and there is an average male life expectancy gap of 21 years between the most and least deprived areas.
At this time, the rising costs of food, fuel and other essentials are combining with this existing disadvantage and vulnerability to put households under significant pressure. This leaves them at risk of hardship and poor wellbeing in the short-term and reduced opportunity in the long-term.
FSOT's immediate focus is on shaping Council services and working with our partners to ensure the most vulnerable individuals and families receive the help they need to navigate these challenges.
Our partners Catalyst have secured almost half a million pounds in National Lottery funding to support the work of the Fairer Stockton-on-Tees framework. This provides funding over the next three years to address inequalities by identifying gaps in services, working with voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and statutory services to address these gaps and build volunteer support for individuals not currently accessing services in deprived communities.
The outcomes of this project are focussed on: more people living healthily, increased positive mental health, higher income and poverty reduction in disadvantaged areas, successful partnership working between organisations, increased commissioning from statutory bodies of VCSE services and more volunteers and volunteering opportunities across Stockton-on-Tees. Read more about Catalyst's Reducing Inequalities project on the Catalyst website.
If you or your organisation would like to get involved with our work, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost of Living Support Hub
These are difficult times with the price of energy, food and other bills rising steeply. Many people are finding it tough to keep up with the cost of living.
If you are struggling with money, it's important to remember that you're not alone and that help is available to support you.
Our Cost of Living Support Hub contains information and resources in a 'one stop shop' that covers energy saving schemes, welfare assistance, benefits guidance, our Holidays are Fun programme and food banks as well as housing, health, training and employment advice.
Cost of Living Working Groups
Under the strategic direction of the Council's Senior Management team (SMT), the Fairer Stockton-on-Tees team are working with colleagues and partners on a range of short-term priorities around the cost of living crisis that have been identified via the direct feedback from our local communities and service users. These efforts are concentrated into six working groups comprising representatives from across Council services and key partner organisations to address the most pressing issues and needs in that area. These groups feed into an 'umbrella' Cost of Living Group featuring representatives from the sub-groups and feeding back to the SMT for consistency and further strategic direction. The six groups are:
Ensuring key energy and utility advice, help and support is identified, promoted and available across Council and partner services. This group also monitors Warm Spaces in Stockton-on-Tees.
Food banks, community pantries and eco-shops are experiencing significantly increased demand. This group works in partnership with the Stockton Food Power Network to ensure activity and resources are coordinated to resolve shortages and boost resilience in the longer-term.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) describes how organisations consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of how they work. It can provide real benefits for residents and community groups while making the most of what businesses and organisations can offer. This group is working to develop and coordinate a Borough-wide approach to CSR that reflects the values and culture of the Council.
Following a recent scrutiny review, plans are developing to help tackle child poverty in Stockton-on-Tees. Proposals include increasing the take-up of free school meals, improving access to laptops, community support schemes and a family poverty profile to ensure support is targeted where it is needed most. This stream of work includes the Holidays are Fun (HAF) programme.
As a large employer, we know the cost of living crisis will be impacted our staff in the same ways that our residents are experiencing. We're working to make sure all staff are aware of all the support and benefits that are on offer to them as an employee of the Council.
It's vital that our staff are armed with up-to-date and effective information that enables them to have the biggest positive impact when helping our residents. This group is developing training and support for staff so they are equipped with everything they need to make every contact count and directly assist people to get the help they need at that time.
The Fairer Stockton-on-Tees team alongside partner organisations including Catalyst, Thirteen, North Star Housing, Tees Active Leisure, and more, have built a directory of warm and welcomign spaces across the Borough.
Warm Spaces are inclusive, non-judgmental places where our residents can go to get warm, take part in activities, receive support and advice, avoid social isolation, reduce their anxiety about the cost-of-living and generally stay well.
Our Warm Spaces have been featured by the Local Government Association as an example of great work done to support residents - you can read about it here on the LGA's case study webpage.
Visit the Warm Spaces page to view the current directory with full details of what is on offer and where.
Warm Spaces in Stockton-on-Tees
These spaces will evolve over time to offer a wide range of services in the future, so check back for regular updates to the directory.
If you or your organisation has a suitable heated venue that could open its doors this winter, the FSOT team wants to hear from you. Visit the Warm Spaces application page to complete the online form.
Warm Spaces activities
Discounted leisure sessions
Tees Active are offering subsidised sessions to keep you and your family active and warm this winter from Monday 28 November (term-time only). You can swim at Thornaby Pool for £1.50 (Mondays 1.30pm to 2.45pm, Tuesday to Friday 1.30pm to 3pm) or take your little one to soft play at Billingham Forum (Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10.30am to 11.30am and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1.30pm to 2.30pm)
Library events programme
Stockton-on-Tees Libraries offer a wide range of services, facilities, events and activities across all their branches to suit all interests and ages.
The FSOT team is supporting several Council services and partner organisations that work with vulnerable individuals and families to provide free mobile data, calls and texts.
Digital exclusion means people cannot access vital online public services, stay connected with family and friends, or get the health, housing, education or employment information they need.
We're currently distributing more than 150 data vouchers and SIM cards to people and families in need across Stockton-on-Tees who may be in financial difficulty, refugees or asylum seekers, homeless or care leavers.
Learn My Way is a website of free online learning for beginners, helping you develop digital skills to make the most of the online world. Their free courses can be accessed at any time and cover lots of topics including starting to use the internet, using email, safety and security online, managing your money and more.
Please be aware that there are many scams operating online, visit the Friends Against Scams website for the latest information where you'll also fine free online scam awareness training.
This work is supported by the Good Things Foundation.
Our Learning and Skills Service offer a wide range of computing and digital skills suitable for beginners to advanced learners, no matter what your ability - there is a course to suit you. Call 01642 527904 for an informal chat or book an initial assessment.
FSOT Strategic Framework
The FSOT Strategic Framework 2021-31 (PDF) [1MB] outlines five key areas of focus:
- tackling fundamental issues across the Borough as a whole
- reducing the inequalities faced by disadvantaged communities
- deprived neighbourhoods/wards
- closing the gap in outcomes for our most marginalised individuals and families
- reviewing the impact of the Council as a major employer, commissioner and purchaser
The framework is one of the key priorities of the Council Plan.