The Coronavirus has plunged so many previously “financially stable” people into money crisis: loss of jobs, businesses, income, worry about paying bills.
Those who were already on low income with little financial resilience are in even worse a position.
Given that in London, 4 in 10 of us have less than £100 in savings, many of us are either in this situation, or are supporting people in our parishes, communities, or friendship groups who are.
And worry about money is very real, particualrly when this situation has come out the blue, with not time for planning or saving.
It’s expected that the financial consequences of this crisis will cause problems for months and years to come, and will disproportionately affect the lowest income and most precariously employed.
We hope these resources below will help churches as they respond to needs in your communities.
HELPING PEOPLE WITH CRISIS FUNDS
There are lots of ways that you can offer help if you know people who are struggling financially.
As well as offering resources to help people access benefits, there are various ways to get funds or resources to people who have essential need, for example for gas meters, food, or technology to get them online.
Here are a few:
Acts 435 is an online giving charity, directly connecting those who want to give with those who are in genuine need of their help, through a network of local churches and charities.
TURN 2 US GRANT FINDER
Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.
Grants can be sourced via their online search tool, an extensive database of grants that can go directly to individuals in need.
WAVELENGTH- TECHNOLOGY FOR THE LONELY
WaveLength gives radios, televisions, and tablet computers, free of charge, to people who are lonely and can’t afford to buy the technology themselves.
London Catalyst, an independent grant funder offer “Samaritan Grants” to churches and smal charities within the M25, so that they can offer small amounts of money directly to those in hardship.
Contact London Catalyst to apply - applications are being turned around as quickly as they can during Covid-19
As well as these specific grants, it is worth checking with your council, who also may hold details of local grant funds that could be available to those you know in need
FINANCIAL PROBLEMS / INCOME SHOCK
Many people have experienced “financial shock” during the last few months: a sudden unexpected drop in income. Whether that’s because they’ve lost their job, aren’t able to work or are on furlough.
Many more are in precarious positions with all the uncertainty ahead, and with most of the UK not having enough in savings to cover their costs, people’s money situations may well be one of the most pressing problems our communities are facing for months ahead.
But never fear - we have a wealth of resources to support you.
How can we be good news to those struggling with money? Video resource
This 20 minute conversation between the Bishop of Stepney, +Joanne Grenfell & Capital Mass’s Alison Tsang asks about where we can start if we have people in our communities who are struggling with money.
Coronavirus: Helping People in Financial Crisis- Downloadable Resource Booklet
We have created a downloadable PDF booklet, summarising the help that is available for people financially, split into 4 areas:
- Financial Shock- what to do if someone’s income has been cut,
- Financial Future- how to plan & make changes when your income changes
- Financial Help- where to get specific help if you’re struggling with bills
- Financial Worry- helping the anxiety and stress that come when we are struggling to make ends meet
This is free of charge and can be shared with anyone who would find it useful.
Please bear in mind that the information in here is time limited: we have strived to keep it up to date; the date it was last updated is clearly displayed.
Building on the webinars we ran at the start of lockdown, our partners at the Just Finance Foundation’s are now running the “Covid Cash” course.
It’s a FREE 2.5 hour train-the-trainer session, with attached resources that churches can then use, either directly with people or to train their congregrations and communities.
They’ve even provided a phone script so you can deliver the material to those who don’t have internet access.
For more information about Covid Cash Course, and the next dates for training, please check here
APPLYING FOR BENEFITS
Many people will now be having to access Universal Credit for the first time.
We have a wealth of resources on our website to help you if you are wanting to support someone through the process.
They can be found here
If you would like more help or advice on the process of accessing benefits, please do get in touch with Alison Tsang