In 2022, we identified a rise in the number of people in need within West Cumbria. Between April 2022 and November 2022 we had already spent £2,265 on helping those in need. Working in partnership with other agencies, women’s centres, and local authorities we applied for funding to set up an emergency fund in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
This fund is ongoing and to date we have raised £28,250, which includes grant donations from Cumbria Community Foundation, Copeland Community Fund & Allerdale Borough Council. This fund continues to be a lifeline to so many people in our community who find themselves in crisis and to their key workers who need to access this fund on their behalf.
Our emergency fund is administrated from our headquarters in Whitehaven, and is a project that supports people who find themselves in financial difficulties by providing things like white goods, carpets, locksmiths, food vouchers, clothing, security products, electric and gas top ups etc. Over the past 12 months we have supported over 170 people.
Emergency Fund Stories
The following is a story about JC – just one of the people who have benefitted from our Emergency Fund and continued support.
JC is a veteran who has been struggling for several years. JC struggles with anxiety and depression and tends to hide himself away and not deal with his issues well. He struggles to ask for help and I have found it hard in the past to get him to engage. More recently, he’s been willing to accept help and I’ve been able to utilise the HQ to have 1-1 sessions with him where we have been able to look at his housing issues, enhancing his income, emergency grants to help with furniture, food and energy and also support for his mental and physical health.
We have worked alongside external agencies to support JC with rent arrears that were affecting his tenancy. JC is on a very low income and has struggled to pay the bedroom tax on the property. The arrears had accrued over the last couple of years. JC was on the verge of eviction, so we applied for a HDP to cover the bedroom tax moving forward and also one of our donators, Securitas, kindly covered the arrears in full to help JC try to move on positively.
We’ve looked at JC’s income and helped him to see that he may be eligible for more benefits through an online benefit check. We’ve started to apply and will be utilising HQ to complete the applications and subsequent medical assessments. We’ve also completed budgeting plans to help JC manage his bills and try to buy essentials every week.
JC disclosed the issues he’s been having with the property, such as a lack of furniture, no carpets, struggling for food, gas and electric. Time to Change have supported him with emergency grants to help with new carpets, food and energy. We have used HQ to apply to British Legion to help with future support.
JC is struggling with his physical and mental health. We’ve spent our 1-1’s talking about accessing help through his GP. We’ve spent several sessions talking things through and the external agencies who may be able to help him.
Support for JC will be ongoing for the near future and the HQ office will help support him with this.
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Ways to support us
Time to Change wouldn’t be able to do half the things we do without the support and backing of our local communities. The generosity of individuals, community groups and businesses in West Cumbria has enabled us to continue to grow our Calderwood House project as well as numerous other initiatives that support those in need. To be able to continue caring for people who need it most, we rely on your continued support and generosity.
There are many ways you can get involved and help keep Time to Change moving forward. From a one-off donation to regular donations by direct debit, legacy gifts or corporate fundraising for us, every penny donated goes straight back into our projects, helping to provide life-saving support for many. Other ways you can contribute include taking action and joining our cause and volunteering for us. We rely on volunteers, in addition to residents, to help run Calderwood House, to sell our fundraising coffee and candles and to spread the word at events. Other projects such as the McKenzie Friend Support Service wouldn’t be possible without the time given by volunteers. Help us continue to do what we do best by joining our mission for change.