Within 3 months of launching our Cost of Living Crisis Appeal, people and businesses in Cheshire and Warrington and funding from partners of UKCF generated over £82,000, to provide critical financial support to charities, community and faith groups and social enterprises supporting the most vulnerable amongst us through the hardest of times.
Thanks to you, charities supported by your generosity have wrapped a blanket of care around the communities and individuals who needed it most this winter.
Food insecurity is always high on the agenda when household budgets are squeezed. Of the total of 17 projects funded so far, 11 helped people in Cheshire and Warrington to access food either via emergency food provision like a food bank or via a warm hub providing a hot meal as part of a wider offering.
Via the national network of Community Foundations, UKCF, we are trusted by DCMS (and partners) to distribute local funding on their behalf. Warrington Foodbank is among the cost of living projects supported in this way – volunteer Ben, quoted in The Guardian recently, describes the difference the food bank makes: “It’s heartbreaking to see the families – parents who are powerless to do what they need to do for their children… “The food bank is a window into how things have got worse over the past year,” he says. More people are coming for food parcels, and making repeated visits, and their situation rarely seems to improve. “I’ve witnessed that shift, where people have gone from ‘heating or eating’ to ‘clutching at straws’, where they can’t afford to do either.” Read the rest of that story in The Guardian.
Asking for help is hard, so providing a service with discretion and dignity is key. A project at Warrington Youth Zone ensured that children and young people discreetly received free entry and a healthy hot meal, access to hot showers and free hygiene products like shampoo, shower gel, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and to laundry facilities if washing and drying clothes at home isn’t an option right now.
My CWA supports individuals and families affected by domestic abuse, which unsurprisingly escalates during periods of stress and crisis. CCF contributed to their Specialist Services Fund, enabling them to make individual grants of up to £200 to help people in crisis as a direct result of domestic abuse. These grants may seem small but provide a lifeline by funding necessities like warm clothing, food and fuel vouchers or the repair of white goods and appliances. Crucially, they also help people to stay safe and connected by supplying Ring doorbells, door chains, personal alarms and mobile phone credit.
In some wards in Cheshire over 25% of older people are living in poverty, so helping them to apply for the funding they are entitled to is crucial in the fight to keep them warm and well. Older people are often digitally excluded and lack the confidence to seek information online. They can be put off by the process of claiming benefits or be reluctant to ask for support. Age UK Cheshire offer a free and confidential Information and Advice Service, predominantly telephone based, helping older people (and their families and carers) to navigate financial issues and concerns, such as benefit entitlements, access to community care, hospital treatment and discharge and eligibility for Attendance or a Carer’s Allowance. Supporting around 2,000 older people each year, last year the service helped older people in Cheshire to claim £818,147 in missed benefits and with your support this year they expect this figure to rise even higher.
Purple Gecko are a Community Interest Company who ran a project in Orford and the surrounding areas to support children aged of 5-12 through February half term. 50 children enjoyed a nutritious hot meal every day (supplied by Warrington Disability Partnership) and participated in fun activities including football, dance, musical theatre, rugby, karate, Thai boxing and athletics. At the heart of the project was the opportunity for these kids to have a safe, warm place in which to enjoy their day, make new friends and have fun. And thanks to you, they did!