More than £2million in increased benefits have been unlocked for Birmingham residents as a result of advice and information services being offered during extended opening hours by the city council, according to an official statement.

As of 11 December 2023, a total of 1,593 residents had been supported to maximise their income for an estimated combined total of £2,030,025 in additional benefits and grants.

The two million milestone has been reached since Erdington Advice Centre and Northfield Customer Service Centre began operating specifically for cost of living issues from 4.30pm until 7pm on Tuesdays and 10am until 1pm on Saturdays.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Simple changes, like extending opening hours for advice at our Erdington and Northfield offices is making a huge difference for our residents to get the help and support they are entitled to.

“Everyone in Birmingham, regardless of their previous circumstances, has been affected by the cost of living crisis – but the impact for our least affluent has been particularly concerning.

“It’s clear there is much more that needs to be done – so now is the time for the Government, other agencies and local councils to come together and work on the other steps we need to take to ensure people get the right help, at the right time.”

Extended hours are also being offered via the council’s Contact Centre for those who are unable to make face-to-face meetings or prefer using the phone, the council reports.

“Since October 2022, the contact centre have received 75,000 calls related to the cost of living including over 12,000 asking for help with food support,” a statement read.

The Birmingham City council’s website has details of initiatives being supported via the Help in Brum campaign.

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