Guest

Local Welfare Assistance

No comments

Ensure Local Welfare Assistance is the lifeline it needs to be, during this crisis and in the future
By Gareth Duffield, Area Manager – Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, Trussell Trust

During the pandemic we have seen a soaring rise in need. The number of food parcels provided by food banks in the Trussell Trust food network increased by 89% in April compared to last year, with a staggering 107% rise in parcels for families with dependent children.

Over the past few months, we’ve heard lots of suggestions that focus on getting food to people who can’t afford it. But food isn’t the answer to people needing food banks.  We are working towards a society where everyone has enough to buy food for their family, cover their housing costs, heat and light their homes, and to be able to buy all the other essentials we all need to get by.

During this crisis, we have been working in coalition with other anti-poverty charities to call for lifelines to help us all weather this storm, such as through suspending the repayment of Universal Credit advance payments, and increasing benefits that go towards the cost of raising children.

One important safety net is local welfare assistance schemes (LWA) which can provide cash grants to keep households afloat in times of financial crisis. When properly run, they get money to people quickly and can reduce the likelihood that people will become homeless or need to turn to a food bank.

It was heartening that the Prime Minister has announced a £63 million fund for these schemes; and of this, councils in Greater Manchester have received an allocation of £3.9m. Now this money has been allocated, it is absolutely crucial that these funds are administered properly if these schemes are to be the lifeline we so desperately need at this time. We are asking local authorities to:

•  Spend the money as intended: We recognise that local authorities are under huge amounts of pressure in many areas of their budgets, but we must ensure this money is not swallowed up by the growing holes in local authority budgets.

•  Build awareness of Local Welfare Assistance and the new funding: We know awareness of LWA can be extremely low. Poor publicity, unclear application processes and onerous application forms can limit uptake and leave people turning to food banks instead. Local authorities should promote and publicise the existence and purpose of schemes and agree an approach to signposting and support pathways with food banks.

•  Ensure people in need can access Local Welfare Assistance: Given the scale of present hardship, local schemes should consider relaxing their qualifying criteria to ensure those most in need get support. For example, considering applications from low income working families or those with no recourse to public funds.

•  Ensure people get the right kind of support: There must be a flexible, tailored approach to the kinds of support people receive, including the option for cash payments, rather than just food vouchers or other in-kind benefits, so people can buy food and other essentials like gas and electricity like anyone else. We know that GMPA have also been advising councils to adopt this approach.

It will also be important for local authorities to monitor the impact of this new funding, so that we can build the case for long-term investment in local welfare assistance.

We are calling on the UK Government to allocate £250m a year in funding for local welfare assistance, which would bring spending in England in line with equivalent schemes in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We need to ensure that the £63m fund is not a one-off, but instead local authorities can continue to provide this vital funding during the challenging times ahead.

Gareth Duffield TT article for GM Poverty ActionThank you to all our campaigners, food banks, and partners such as The Children’s Society, who helped make the changes we’ve seen so far happen. Please continue to join our calls for long-term investment into this crucial local lifeline.

No one should be forced to use a food bank. When we stand together, we can make a real impact – we hope this new money is an important first step in doing just that.

 

Gareth Duffield

 

i3oz9sLocal Welfare Assistance
read more

Food support provision through Covid-19

No comments

Food support provision through Covid-19
by Filippo Oncini, University of Manchester

In June, a mixed method study was launched to understand the obstacles, needs, and prospects of the food support providers active in Greater Manchester immediately after the Covid-19 peak. Food support providers were invited to fill out a questionnaire and to participate in a longer interview online. Of the organisations that responded, 55 completed the questionnaire and 33 agreed to a follow up conversation. Five additional interviews were conducted with sector experts not primarily involved in frontline support, to gain additional insight into some of the findings. Although the sample is mostly composed of food banks, it also includes several responses from food pantries, food clubs and meal providers. Preliminary analyses of the data should be taken with a pinch of salt, as respondents are likely to be self-selecting on certain characteristics of the organisations, which may produce biased responses. Nonetheless the data is useful as a starting point to reflect on the emergency responses put in place, the most common difficulties and the expectations food providers have for the near future.

Let us start with some good news: respondents have not been turning eligible people away due to lack of volunteer and staff capacity, or because of a shortage of food in stock. Despite most organisations declaring that the number of volunteers has decreased during the crisis, the capacity to improvise and quickly adapt to the new circumstances, coupled with the great generosity shown by individuals and companies, has allowed them to respond promptly to the increasing requests of people in need. For instance, many of them shifted logistics operations from food pick up to food delivery to help people that were shielding. It is not by chance that a striking majority claimed to be resilient against the challenges posed by the crisis, talking about a rise in monetary and food donations (Figures 1 and 2). Interestingly, despite many food support providers being forced to shut down after the lockdown due to a lack of volunteers and/or funds, the ‘parallel welfare’ provided by the charities and by mutual aid groups (MAGs) apparently absorbed many needs that emerged after the lockdown.

Figures 1 and 2. “Thinking about the following aspects of your organisation, how have each of them changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak?”

Figs 1 and 2 for Oncini artcle for GM Poverty Action

Yet the necessity to maintain the supply of food at all costs came with some drawbacks. The lockdown measures that followed Covid-19 not only affected the financial stability (Figure 3) and the management of the organisations, but actually undermined the influential ways in which food support providers used to operate – i.e. the “social atmosphere” (see Figure 4). Before the lockdown, a whole series of services were offered in addition to food support that were as important as the food parcels themselves. With 40 of the respondents reporting an increase in the number of clients (Figure 5), due to physical distancing measures in place, other forms of support such as financial advice, empathic listening and human connection were partially or totally lost, just when they were likely to be needed the most.

Figures 3 and 4. “On a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is “Not at all” and 5 is “Very much so”, to what extent would you say COVID-19 has affected the following?”

Figs 3 and 4 for Oncini article for GM Poverty Action

Figure 5. “Thinking about the following aspects of your organisation, how have each of them changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak?”  

Fig 5 for Oncini article for GM Poverty Action

This leads us to another consideration. The exceptional nature of the first Covid-19 wave provoked the exceptional response of charities and public services alike. The sudden growth of MAGs all over the country is probably the most evident sign of this collective effort. Yet many food providers do not know how to project food poverty relief in the future. Especially during the interviews, respondents wondered whether food and monetary donations would increase again should a second lockdown occur, and stressed that the end of the furlough scheme, winter hardships, and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, will exacerbate the situation for many people that already struggle to make ends meet and increase the number of people in need of food aid. This, in turn, could affect the response capacity of many organisations, some of which have less than two months’ worth of food or cash reserves at current levels of demands (Figures 6 and 7). Hence request of food support providers is the conception of a strategy at both the national and the local level that considers the potential scenarios and responses to a second crisis, to keep the sector afloat regardless of the severity of the upcoming crisis.

Figures 6 and 7. “Roughly, how many weeks will your existing food stocks/cash reserves last at current levels of demand?” 

Figs 6 and 7 for Oncini article for GM Poverty Action

Filippo Oncini research - Covid-19 article for GM Poverty Action

Filippo Oncini

While highlighting the fragility of the UK welfare system, the Covid-19 crisis has also shed light on the resilience of many food support providers, as well as on their complementarity. From more formal organisations, to less structured and extremely agile ones, food support providers have played a central role in the first phase of this major crisis. Yet the solidity of a social contract between the state, businesses and social groups cannot rely on a sector of the economy, no matter how well organised, intentioned and funded, for shielding the most vulnerable from poverty, precisely because food aid should be a very last resort, and not the central backbone of the social welfare.

i3oz9sFood support provision through Covid-19
read more

Ten years of the Austerity Crisis

No comments

Ten Years of the Austerity Crisis

By Marcus Johns, IPPR North

On June 22nd, 2010, the then Chancellor delivered his first budget. He said: “we are all in this together.” He said his Government would “protect the most vulnerable in our society.” That budget started the imposition of a decade of austerity. On June 22nd 2020, IPPR North published new research into the impact that ten years of austerity has had. It highlights the damage that the austerity programme, pursued by successive governments, has done to our region and our resilience to face today’s challenges.

IPPR has previously comprehensively argued that austerity has been a failure: economically, fiscally and socially. And, IPPR North has pointed to its disproportionate impact on the North and the role it has played in holding back our region, taking in the North West, North East, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

In our new research, we reveal that despite promises, we were not all in this together. Many of the cuts and impacts of the cuts were felt unequally between different people and different places. There are stark regional differences.

Despite promises, the most vulnerable in our society were not protected. For example, 5,165 households in the North now live in temporary accommodation because of homelessness. This includes bed & breakfasts, the quality of which has been found severely lacking in many cases.

Over half of these households include children, who are growing up in dire conditions. In the North West alone, the number of children living in temporary accommodation skyrocketed from 910 in 2009 to 4,580 in 2019. From welfare reform to an undersupply of social housing – austerity has created a generationally significant
homelessness crisis.

Another example of austerity’s impact is the growing dysfunction of adult social care. Many of our most vulnerable older people are trapped in hospital beds ready to move into more appropriate settings. This is a symptom of the near permanent social care crisis, arising from squeezed council budgets while demand for many social care
services has risen.

From education to health, many people’s life chances, especially in the North and especially our most vulnerable, have been damaged. For ten years, opportunities were missed to improve people’s lives. In fact, these were ten years of a programme that actively undermined them.

Much noise, until Covid-19’s scale became clear, was made of a booming economy. But, the reality is that benefits of growth did not flow to normal people.

As their public services and their social safety net were pummelled, people’s pay stagnated and their job quality came under pressure. Work diminished as a route out of poverty as the institutional capacity to relieve poverty was withdrawn by central government decisions.

Austerity is a decade-long crisis, it has caused many decade-long crises including in council funding, and it has undermined our region’s resilience.

We now find ourselves in another, acute crisis with Covid-19. As the disease spread and the country locked down, our public services and local councils responded, admirably. But their foundations are weak following these ten years; they lack financial stability, have hundreds of thousands fewer staff, and Westminster continues to hoard the power and resources they need to handle this crisis and build back better.

Marcus Johns, IPPR North for GM Poverty Action

Marcus Johns

Whatever the policy rhetoric around ‘Levelling up’ means to Government, the North and its people’s potential cannot be realised until the true scale of the challenges created by austerity are understood, unpicked, and undone.

A recovery from the crisis caused by Covid-19 to the status quo would remain a social, economic, and environmental crisis. We need a sustained long-term investment – not just in infrastructure but in our people too, to rebuild people’s life chances and allow them to flourish. And through real devolution, our people must be given the powers across the towns, cities and regions of England to decide how building back from 10 years of austerity and the Covid-19 crisis will serve them and their futures.

 

i3oz9sTen years of the Austerity Crisis
read more

Stockport integrated support

No comments

By Cllr Amanda Peers, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods , Stockport MBC

As many of you will be aware, and has been covered in depth by GMPA, responsibility for crisis loans and financial assistance for those experiencing difficulties was transferred from DWP to local authorities in April 2013 in the form of local welfare assistance schemes. You are also probably aware that since 2010 the  government has continued to reduce budgets for essential services to local authorities year on year. In Stockport this reduction has amounted to around £110 million in total (i.e. over 60% of the overall budget).

Over the last 4 years in Stockport we have been working hard to deliver a balanced budget without making  excessive cuts and reductions in services. As you can imagine this is virtually impossible with increasing costs and reducing funds. We have tried where possible to do things differently, to do more with less and to work efficiently and effectively with partners to maximise resources and avoid duplication.

The Stockport Local Assistance Scheme was reviewed over 2019/20, and from this review, which included 2 pieces of consultation, a proposal to change to Stockport Integrated Support was agreed for the 20/21 budget.

Under the new proposals a number of funding streams that are used to support people in financial crisis are to be administered under one system, a ‘one door entry system’. On initial contact residents will be advised what funding is available to them, plus additional support through a variety of partners including CAB, Age UK, Signpost for Carers etc, who will all offer specialist advice and services. This could include money management, debt advice, employment support and housing support.

As a large proportion of the applications to the Stockport Local Assistance Scheme were for white goods and furnishing for new tenancies we have worked with our Social Housing partners to look at how we can support people with these needs. Our housing partners are able to offer furnished tenancies, providing a good start for those with little or no means, enabling and supporting  sustainable tenancies, the costs of which can be met through housing benefit, which then comes back into the system to support others.

We have also worked with our local Credit Union who have developed flexible loan packages in response to residents’ needs.

The administration team behind the new process will be trained to seek and secure additional external funding streams from specialist charities and organisations to meet the needs of the individuals, this in effect will bring more funding into the borough for the benefit of local residents.

This holistic person-centred approach will ultimately offer our most vulnerable residents a hand up rather than a handout, with advice and support empowering people and enabling them to move onto a pathway out of poverty.  As an experienced community worker by profession, I know this is preferable to so many people who like to maintain their independence and are often finding it difficult to accept help.

With  Brexit and other political and funding uncertainties facing Stockport Council, it was felt that there were many unknowns that may adversely affect our residents so we have set aside some reserves to meet the needs of our residents over time.

Stockport Cllr Amanda Peers article for GM Poverty Action

Cllr Amanda Peers

The new scheme was due to be implemented at the start of the new financial year. However, with the impact of Covid-19 we have deferred the implementation until a later date and in parallel provided a small grant pot through our Stockport Local Fund to support the voluntary and community sector, charities and mutual aid groups in our neighbourhoods who have been providing direct support to those vulnerable residents adversely affected by Covid.

Stockport MBC Community webpage

 

i3oz9sStockport integrated support
read more

Out-of-hours Citizens Advice helpline service

No comments

By Rachel Howley, Director – Citizens Advice Greater Manchester

Citizens Advice Greater Manchester (CAGM) is a consortium of all 10 GM local Citizens Advice services. In March they escalated plans with GMCA to launch a new helpline service to all GM residents in direct response to the critical situation we faced with the Coronavirus Pandemic. In the space of 4 just weeks they set up an Out of Hours Emergency Support Service for vulnerable people facing crisis or emergency across GM via a clear, single point of contact. On April 19th, they officially launched their new Helpline to all residents of Greater Manchester, funded by a £100,000 grant from the GMCA.

The Helpline is available for all GM residents to call Monday to Sunday from 7pm to 10pm on 0161 850 5053. Calls are charged at local rates. This service will increase access to generalist and specialist advice: Debt and Money, Welfare Rights and access to Benefits, Housing and Mortgage, Employment.

In addition, the service will also increase access to specialist support from a joined up, comprehensive network of Greater Manchester agencies. Initially through the GMVCSE Leadership Group, CAGM will build up a strong holistic network of external partners to signpost clients to support for mental health and suicide prevention, employment, foodbanks, domestic violence, young people older, people, family, and immigration,

Through the suspension of most face to face services as a result of Covid-19, they are particularly interested to explore how they can support the most vulnerable and hard to reach clients through new technology.

A further objective of the project is to improve the strategic partnerships with Foodbanks. CAGM will work together with local Foodbanks across GM to develop a better understanding of how the services can work more seamlessly together. This will include a dedicated CAGM Campaign to highlight, combat and alleviate food poverty, linking into the current GM Food Poverty Action Plan.

CAGM will work closely with GMCA to spot occurring trends across GM as a direct result of the pandemic including: welfare reform including Universal Credit; debt; employment including furlough, redundancy and discrimination; unemployment, particularly 16-24 year olds; housing including mortgage and rent and landlord tenant issues.

Citizens Advice Greater Manchester website

 

i3oz9sOut-of-hours Citizens Advice helpline service
read more

Welfare at a (social) distance

No comments

Welfare at a (Social) Distance: Accessing social security and employment support during the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath

By Lisa Scullion, University of Salford; Daniel Edmiston, University of Leeds; and Kate Summers, London School of Economics.

The Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford, working with the universities of Leeds, Kent and the London School of Economics, is leading a large-scale national research project to understand how the working-age benefits system responds to the coronavirus crisis. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19, this project will rapidly produce large-scale evidence to inform policymaking in the coming months.

As newsletter readers will know, the benefits system is crucial to supporting people during, and after, the COVID-19 crisis. With a growing number of new claimants, it faces two challenges. Firstly, to ensure people quickly get the money they need. And afterwards, that people are helped to quickly return to work or supported further if unable to work. This project will provide vital information on how we are meeting these challenges and where the system is struggling in order to help develop rapid solutions.

The project has three main components. We are conducting an online survey of 8,000 new and existing claimants, to provide a nationally representative picture of what is happening. Second, we are conducting four local area case studies in Leeds, Newham, Salford and Thanet, to identify how local support systems, including local authorities, third sector providers, and others, support claimants. Third, we are interviewing 80 claimants twice over the next year. These in-depth interviews will help us understand the details of claimants’ experiences.

This project is particularly important because of the ongoing and new challenges that the benefit system is facing. The coronavirus crisis has created a group of ‘new’ claimants, who might not have prior experience of the social security system: we need to understand how their experiences compare to those of existing claimants. Specifically, we need understand if support and income is reaching all claimants in a timely way, when the wave of new applications has put higher levels of strain on DWP processes. COVID-19 has also accelerated the shift to a digitalised benefits system – navigating this ‘virtual’ system often depends on in-person help for some claimants (from e.g. advice agencies) and the extent to which claimants can access support remotely is unknown. Later, claimants will need support to quickly return to work, while those who remain out of work will need ongoing
security.

Can you help us?

We are looking to speak to current benefit recipients from across England about their experiences. If you can help put us in touch with anyone currently in receipt of Universal Credit, JSA, ESA, or Tax Credits we would be grateful to hear from you. Interviews are treated confidentially and participants receive a voucher as a thank them for their time.

We would also like to hear from organisations in the Salford area who are currently supporting benefit claimants and are able to share their experiences of providing support during this time.

For further information about the project, or if you would like to be added to our project dissemination list to receive updates from the project, please contact:

Professor Lisa Scullion (University of Salford)
Dr Daniel Edmiston (University of Leeds)
Dr Kate Summers (London School of Economics)Welfare at a distance article logos for GM Poverty Action

i3oz9sWelfare at a (social) distance
read more

Is now the time to be fighting for a Real Living Wage in Bolton?

No comments

By Amy Rothwell, Business Development Lead for Boo Coaching & Consulting, Bolton

An increase in wages for the lowest paid workers in Bolton. An hourly rate calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. How does the case for that stand, now, with recession looming?

1 Capture the Impetus
There are actually strong opportunities while the public feeling is that something needs to change, when social value no longer just a concept to most of us.

Julie Ralph, Policy and Public Affairs Analyst for Bolton at Home, says “Now seems like the right time to join up with other Community Wealth Building initiatives, such as Strength in Places, and Build Back Better. The Living Wage campaign doesn’t need to be a standalone voice.”

One of the common themes of such strategies is a call to keep money local;  to spend within our communities and
support those local businesses that have kept us supplied us through these challenging times.

2 Shop Wisely
John Hacking, Campaign Coordinator at the Greater Manchester Living Wage campaign says that the current crisis very quickly divided businesses into those that did the right thing, and those that didn’t. “Companies are now being judged on how they instinctively reacted – whether in their treatment of staff, or whether they honoured payments to suppliers. People are now considering more than ever what it means to be a good employer.”

If we, the public, remember this when we make our choices as consumers and services users, we have the power to influence positive change in workplaces. Ensuring that all employees are paid fairly for the work they do seems a natural part of this.

3 Honour our key workers
There has been wide recognition of the burden that ‘key workers’ have shouldered during this pandemic. No more so than in the notoriously undervalued care industry. Adrian Nottingham, Social Value, Quality and Impact Officer at Bolton CVS  says “There’s a momentum that cannot be ignored. We’ve been clapping, but now there is a demand for our care workers to be respected in a meaningful way.”

Amy Rothwell for GM Poverty Action

Amy Rothwell

It’s time to strike while the iron is hot. Harness the goodwill of the people – who are customers, services users, decision makers – and fly the flag for fair pay.

How do we Build Bolton Back Better?

By making the Real Living Wage one of the cornerstones. 

 

i3oz9sIs now the time to be fighting for a Real Living Wage in Bolton?
read more

LockdownLIVEs

No comments

LockdownLIVEs: Co-Production and Creative Advocacy during Covid-19

By Katy Rubin, LockdownLIVEs

When the pandemic hit, the first priority for the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network and the GMCA was to ensure that GM residents in hostels or rough sleeping would be able to self-isolate and stay safe. The next priority has been to direct food, health care and other essential services to these emergency accommodations. While this urgent work has been underway, the needs for creative expression, co-produced research, and a sense of connection were also increasingly pressing.

In mid-April, the LockdownLIVEs project was born, in collaboration with the GMHAN and Street Support Network. LockdownLIVEs is a docu-series co-created by GM residents in emergency and temporary accommodation during the pandemic. The project aims to creatively connect people who are self-isolating in emergency accommodation; and help the broader public understand how this crisis affects those who don’t have their own homes. All GM residents experiencing homelessness are invited to submit 1-minute videos, poems, drawings, and photos about what life is like right now. The submissions are edited into twice-weekly, themed episodes that air on social media (@StreetSupportUK and @LockdownLIVES) on Tuesdays and Fridays at 3pm. LockdownLIVEs aims to offer an opportunity for viewing and discussion online, to help build community over the weeks and months that the lockdown continues.

LockdownLIVEs video screen grab for GM Poverty Action

In the first three weeks, five episodes have been released addressing the challenges of communicating with GPs and support workers over the phone, and the resulting feelings of isolation and anxiety; the experience of food insecurity, and not having choice about your own diet; the frustration when those around aren’t observing social distancing; and the added anxiety when the government is unclear about their response. There have also been examples of collaboration, beauty and hope: residents in hotels bringing music back to the lockdown; working together (with masks and gloves) to build planters for flowers; and sharing humorous poems about what to watch (or not watch) on TV.

Project coordinators have heard from staff at front-line organisations that watching these videos at the end of a workday has been both emotional and encouraging; overall, the project has been received with enthusiasm from staff and residents. Some residents don’t have access to devices or data to send content, so staff are helping to coordinate the submissions; additionally, the Mayor’s Charity and other groups are endeavouring to distribute more devices and data, as internet access is crucial in the current moment.

The LockdownLIVEs team is working with other groups conducting research, so that co-produced reporting and artistic expression can support more formal evaluation efforts.  A final video product will tie various themes together, to be used as an advocacy tool. Upcoming episodes will dive deeper into the experience and help shed light on what’s working in the GM response to covid-19; what’s not working; and what GM residents experiencing homelessness hope will happen next.

Katy Rubin, LockdownLIVEs article for GM Poverty Action

Katy Rubin

Currently, the team, consisting of Jez Green of Mustard Tree, Katy Rubin, an arts-and-policy strategist, and Alex Bower, video editor, are working to spread the word to include a diversity of voices in the project. Any organisation supporting emergency or temporary accommodation is very welcome to participate: new prompts go out on Tuesdays and Fridays, and staff or residents can send any content – videos, images, poems – via WhatsApp or text message to Katy at 07926 358983, or email. Watch and share past videos via Vimeo.com/lockdownlives, and reach out with any other inquiries or suggestions.

 

i3oz9sLockdownLIVEs
read more

Children’s Food Campaign

No comments

Government urged to keep feeding children during school holidays

By Barbara Crowther, Co-ordinator for the Children’s Food Campaign

Charities, organisations and education unions have called on Education Secretary to announce additional funding for continued food provision during the forthcoming school half-term and summer holidays.

In a joint letter to the Secretary of State Gavin Williamson MP and Schools Minister Vicky Ford MP, the  organisations point to recent figures from the Food Foundation that show around 2 million children across the UK are directly experiencing some level of food insecurity or hunger. Before the crisis, 1.3 million children in England were eligible for benefit-related free school meals, however a further 1.4 million families have applied for Universal Credit since the start of the outbreak.

Campaign Co-ordinator for the Children’s Food Campaign Barbara Crowther says, “Hunger does not know the difference between term time and school holidays, and the Government’s support for families should be continuous through this crisis. Given the scale of food and income insecurity being experienced by so many families, it is critical that the Government makes national level funding available to cover all the school holidays until the start of the new academic year.”

The Welsh Government has already committed £33m additional funding to cover all holidays until the end of August, which is equivalent to holiday provision of £19.50 per week per child eligible for support. However, in England, the Department for Education has so far only committed to £9m funding for pilot holiday food projects in a few selected areas, with successful funding bidders still to be announced. In the letter, the organisations say this is not enough and a national level holiday provision funding formula is now needed “at a level sufficient to expand provision of free school meals substitutes, and to the National School Breakfast Programme, to cover all holiday periods across the whole of England until end of August.”

The Government did extend funding to allow the national school voucher programme for England to cover Easter holidays. The organisations are arguing that giving more advance notice for forthcoming holiday periods would allow schools, academy trusts and local authorities to make better plans with their relevant food and catering suppliers, or alternative voucher/cash support provision, with confidence that they will have the funds to deliver.

More information about Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign and a list of the organisations who have signed up is available here

More information about the GM Food Poverty Action Plan is available here

 

i3oz9sChildren’s Food Campaign
read more

GM VCSE letter

No comments

GM VCSE leaders are asking the Government for urgent help

The Chairs of GMCVO, the GM VCSE Leadership Group, the GM BAME Network and GM BAME SE Network and the GM Social Enterprise Network have written to the Chancellor, the Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak asking for more support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

The response of our local voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and social enterprises to the
current crisis has been genuinely inspirational. The letter explains just how vital they are to people in need, and how important they are to ‘building back better’. But their future has never been less certain, with every income stream disappearing at once.

So far we have had very little help for our local organisations from national government.  Of course we welcome the funding recently announced, but it is just not enough.  In Greater Manchester alone we need an additional £19.5 million. Meanwhile the job retention scheme is unhelpful when organisations need to stay open and keep staff working and they have had no access to the small business grants offered to other SMEs.

Without urgent action from the UK government to provide support, we are afraid that many GM VCSEs will soon be gone – just when they are needed most.  More information and to read the letter in full

 

i3oz9sGM VCSE letter
read more