Local insights on a national crisis

Last week fund holders at our Behind the Scenes event heard about our response to the cost of living crisis.

Two grant recipients – Penny McKissock from Southside Family Project and Anna Brown, from Talking Money advice service –  are passionate about supporting some of our most vulnerable citizens.
They support them through personal crises and onwards to tackle issues at the root cause.

We share this commitment and are now talking to advice organisations working in our most disadvantaged areas to distribute £75,000 emergency support.

Embedded in the local community: Southside Family Project

Founder and CEO, Penny McKissock, and Isobel Michael from Southside Family Project spoke about supporting people in hidden pockets of need in Bath and North East Somerset. Despite the heritage city’s Georgian splendour, it includes areas in the 10% and 20% most deprived in the country, and this is where Southside is based.

The issues that Southside are seeing include:  

• Rising number of and complexity of need in families referred for support

• Pre-Covid, families often presented with two or three issues; now many have four or five

• Growing need for support with emotional resilience because of increasing impact of trauma and social isolation

• Families struggling financially and worried about affording the basics, including electricity and food.

Penny has a personal commitment to this work. This lived experience is at the heart of everything Southside does, providing practical and emotional support for and with local people.

Talking Money CEO Anna Brown

A community without poverty: Talking Money

CEO at Talking Money, Anna Brown, spoke about their mission to empower people facing financial challenges.

Talking Money have a vision of a community without poverty.

The issues Talking Money are seeing include:

  • People who despite working three jobs, can’t make ends meet
  • Impact of the £20 reduction in Universal Credit and spiralling energy costs
  • No savings – 1 in 10 Brits have no savings at all
  • 40% of clients come from Lawrence Hill, and food bank use is high
  • Covid has exacerbated underlying mental health problems
  • Clients with priority debt such as rent or council tax. This is a slippery slope towards homelessness.

Their advisers are debt, benefits and fuel poverty specialists. Unpicking their clients’ issues requires empathy – developing trusting relationships with vulnerable people takes time.

They use a ‘strength’s based’ approach, not the helper/victim relationship. The impact of their work allows people to live decent, independent lives.

Last year they helped 1,900 beneficiaries.

So what as funders are we doing?

“Many charities are seeing an increase in volume and complexity of demand on their services. On top of cuts and covid, we currently have a real concern for the pressure on many of these organisations

“So as first-stage response we’ve been talking to organisations providing front line advice services within our most disadvantaged communities.

“In total this response will award £75,000 to advice organisations dealing with spiralling demand. Working with our fund holders, we can provide meaningful support to help strengthen the capacity of these local charities.”

Ronnie Brown, Philanthropy Director Quartet Community Foundation
  • If you’re interested in supporting this local response to the cost of living crisis, please contact Ronnie Brown

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