Signage webWe’ve been awarded an amazing £21,946 by Wiltshire Community Foundation as part of their Foundation Coronavirus Response & Recovery Grants Programme.

Thanks to their generosity we’ll be able to help more people in Wiltshire deal with the impact of Covid-19 on their household incomes.

Since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic more than three months ago, we’ve seen a sharp rise in demand for advice about employment, Universal Credit and housing. Millions of households across the UK have seen their income swept away by coronavirus.

In the first few months of the pandemic we were getting about three times the number of calls we normally would from people in Wiltshire concerned about their employment status and how this affects their income.

By June our frontline advisers were helping one person every two minutes with a redundancy issue.

Each job loss can mean a household struggling to make rent, cover their bills or pay for their food shop.

People were very concerned, understandably. Many will never have found themselves in a situation like this before, like having to apply for benefits. 

Our staff and volunteers have been incredible, working hard to deliver advice services from their own homes, adapting to this new way of working, virtually overnight. We moved from providing a 50/50 face to face and digital service to 100% digital in just a few days.  

The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on households on a low income in Wiltshire, and is also beginning to force others onto lower incomes than previously.

Current protections on household bills are protecting many from immediate financial harm from coronavirus. But millions face a financial cliff-edge when protections expire. Yet, despite these protections the last week of June saw debt as the highest enquiry area people sought advice for.  

As the effects of coronavirus continue to be felt in the weeks and months ahead, this grant will mean we have the right support available for people when they need it most.

First published: 7 July 2020 

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