Household budgets for many people are severely under strain due to the increasing cost of living. We are seeing the cost of everyday essentials rise faster than average incomes - leaving people with tough decisions about how to cover their bills. These are extremely challenging times for many people.
We know that financial strain can also impact people's social connections, at a time when many people are already feeling more isolated and lonely, as we do fewer things than we did before that connect us with others.
Our research shows that many people are more fearful that crime will go up during the cost of living crisis, and the emotional and financial impact of this will be felt greater than before.
We want to help mitigate some of these impacts as much as possible. So we have pulled together guidance on
- Steps to take to avoid becoming a victim of crime
- Where to go for financial support, money-saving tips, help with energy and food costs
- Support to help reduce loneliness and isolation
- Helping others through the cost-of-living crisis (downloadable PDF)
Our advice is not intended to be exhaustive, but we hope it offers you and your community some support at this difficult time.
Six ways for Coordinators to help others through the cost-of-living crisis
The cost of living crisis is a concern for nearly all of us. If you are a Coordinator and wish to help those in your community through this difficult time, here are some simple ideas to get you started.
- Find out and share what local support is available within your community
The main point of information for local support is your council, which will have a collation of local community support and advice. They will know how to access local food banks, warm hubs, community groups and financial support available locally to you. Sign up to receive local newsletters and link in with Trading Standards to find out how you can avoid any local scamming and raise awareness of this with your neighbours, friends and family. You can find your local council contact details here.
- Check-in on neighbours and ask how you can help over a cuppa
Social face-to-face connections can increase our sense of belonging and purpose. They can also increase feelings of happiness and confidence. Having a cuppa with your neighbour does not mean you need to become best friends, but it'll make you both feel more connected. It also opens up the opportunity to offer your support through the conversation. It allows you to ask if they need any assistance with anything. With your knowledge of what support is available within your community, you might just be able to offer them your support.
Whilst you are there, why not offer them practical information about reducing the risk of burglary. You could print and leave this burglary leaflet with them.
- Organise or promote a local food bank collection
Sometimes people, families and communities need to use food banks to help them through difficult times. Rally your neighbours to donate items to take to your local food bank. This is a great way of supporting others in your local community. You can find out where your local food bank is by visiting the Trussell Trust website.
- Organise a Great Winter Get Together
Every year the Great Winter Get Together brings together communities to alleviate loneliness, inspired by the late Jo Cox MP and her advocacy on this issue. Why not create and advertise local places for connection where those who may be feeling lonely can go to form meaningful connections with others. Find out how you can get involved here.
- Set up a Calling Tree as a support network
Supporting people who are not on social media can be a challenge. Why not set up a phone tree in your area? It’s a lovely way to stay connected and support each other, particularly with those who are not online. Here’s how it works. You call three people. Those three people call three people each, making nine more. Those nine each call three people, reaching 27 more people. Those 27 each call three, reaching 81 more people. The phone tree builds. Call three people today to ask how they are doing. Reduce isolation and stay connected.
To build your network you could drop this postcard (colour or black and white) through their letterbox.
Did you know…? We have more digital and printable CALLING TREE campaign resources on our website. You can use them to promote this initiative to your community.
- Promote the Priority Services Register
Vulnerable residents can sign up to this service with their energy company to ensure they get priority help and support if there is an issue if with their supply. You can apply to sign up to this register by contacting your supplier or network operator. Information is available in a range of formats including braille, large print or different languages and more information can be found on the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. (OFGEM) website www.ofgem.gov.uk/getting-extra-help-priority-services-register