Grant helps advice charity meet rising costs and growing demand

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The pandemic has hit many of our charities’ reserves, as the mounting cost of Covid creates a perfect storm for charity finances.

Driven to fulfill their charitable aims of helping their beneficiaries, they’ve had to shoulder considerable costs as they adapt to homeworking.

That’s why we’re so pleased we could support Bristol Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB). A £10,000 Coronavirus Recovery and Stabilisation grant will help them meet the growing demand for advice during the pandemic, and some of the associated costs.

The grant will help keep the advice centre open to digitally excluded clients. It will also help staff and volunteers work effectively from home.

Charities playing vital role throughout pandemic

Charities adapted how they worked almost overnight last spring, in response to Covid-19. But additional costs come in many forms. Extra cleaning and servicing costs, PPE and office sanitation products such as hand gels and IT and desk cleaning wipes can blow a hole in tight budgets. The move to homeworking brings extra costs, not least the weekly £6 allowance plus additional mobile phone contracts and video conferencing equipment. For our hard-pressed charities these costs are difficult to bear.

Ronnie Brown, Quartet Community Foundation’s Interim CEO said: “People in crisis, including those threatened with homelessness or who have lost their job and have no income, can get help from Bristol CAB. They’re also here for people facing problems in their day-to-day lives.

“We’re working through our Recovery Proposal to ensure essential support is here for local people as we face the enormous challenges created by this pandemic.

“These organisations have really stepped up to play their vital role in civic society during Covid-19. We’re committed to helping them survive and thrive.

“We’re so grateful to all our fund holders who care so much for our local communities and who’ve never stopped supporting us throughout Covid-19.”

Case study – helping ‘Sara’ and her children start again as they flee domestic violence

Sue Evans from Bristol Citizens Advice shared this story. She said:

“Sara” was referred to us by her GP.  She is married but estranged having fled the family home due to domestic violence.   She has two children age three and seven who she had taken with her when she left.

“Sara and her young children had been staying with various family and friends. Most recently with her 70 year old father.  She had a support worker and was in contact with a local domestic violence charity, however she needed clear advice and support regarding practical issues such as benefits.”

Although normally capable and confident, the client was overwhelmed and very anxious due to her difficult circumstances and the fact that she had absolutely no income.

Sara was unable to and could not understand her benefit entitlement, or how her presence in her father’s home would impact her father’s benefit entitlement.

Bristol CAB worked with Sara to:

·         explain the benefits she was entitled to and their specialist “Help to Claim” team helped start her application for Universal Credit

·         discuss the situation regrading her entitlements to benefits and how living with her father could impact on his income

·         advise her of grants she may be entitled to when she is ready to set up home again.

Sue Evans explains: “We continue to work with Sara as her situation evolves, and she becomes more self sufficient.”