The British Red Cross

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Covid-19 Hardship Fund Report

The British Red Cross have published a new policy briefing on Financial Hardship and the need for cash-based assistance during emergencies. The report is available online.

The briefing draws upon insight from their internal evaluation of the British Red Covid-19 Hardship Fund, delivered in partnership with Aviva and the Aviva Foundation. The Hardship Fund was set up in response to the outbreak of the pandemic, and designed to support the most vulnerable. The fund provided cash grants of £120 a month for up to three months to help people immediately meet their essential living costs. The Hardship Fund has now closed, but between March 2020 and July 2021 the fund distributed nearly £4.5 million in cash assistance to over 18,000 people across the UK.

Reflecting on the experience of recipients of Hardship Fund support and quantitative data from the evaluation, the briefing makes recommendations to inform the future delivery on emergency cash-based assistance. Central to this is a preference for cash-based assistance during emergencies to promote dignity and choice, the need for the timely release of funds and diverse and inclusive assessment criteria, in which people with No Recourse to Public Funds are eligible.

The briefing also strongly champions the need for Local Welfare Assistance schemes, equipped with a sustainable and longer-term funding settlement.

The findings from the report echo GMPA’s call for a ‘cash first’approach to supporting people experiencing poverty. We have been pleased to work with and support a number of councils across Greater Manchester with this approach during the pandemic.


i3oz9sThe British Red Cross