In the run up to Christmas, Buckinghamshire Council is highlighting where families and individuals can seek emergency help and support if they need it over the festive season.
Any Buckinghamshire residents needing emergency support or help with food and/or energy should contact the council’s Helping Hand service using the online form or by calling 01296 531 151. This service is available during office hours but is closed at weekends and on the public holiday days over Christmas and New Year.
Anyone in immediate need of food who cannot wait until the next working day when the Helping Hand service is open – and has no other avenue to help – should contact the council’s Emergency Social Work Team on 0800 999 7767. They will not be able to provide food on Christmas Day when the shops are closed, but otherwise can provide immediate help and advice in an emergency.
Many foodbanks will be operating different opening days and times over the Christmas period – residents who need to access a foodbank will need a referral from the council’s Helping Hand service, or another similar support service, so please contact the Helping Hand service in the first instance if you or someone you know needs to use a foodbank.
If you see anyone sleeping out on the streets in Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink online or call 0300 500 0914. They will notify the council’s dedicated outreach workers. If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.
Residents who may be finding this time of year challenging or lonely, or are experiencing difficulty with their mental health can find help and advice on the NHS Buckinghamshire Taking Therapies webpage. In addition, there are some top tips on mental health and being ‘kind to your mind’ during the festive period at Health and Wellbeing Bucks.
Information about additional support can be found on the council’s cost of living webpages.
Online advice is available 24/7 from Citizens Advice Bucks, plus the national advice line is available during office hours on 0800 144 8848 if you need immediate advice.
Arif Hussain is Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities. He said:
“While most of us are excited about the festive season, for some Buckinghamshire households it can be a challenging time of year, and some people may need to access some extra help or support.
“Please share the information above with your friends, neighbours and local networks. You never know who might need it this Christmas.”