National charity Turn2us believes no one in the UK should experience financial insecurity. They work alongside people who have experienced not having enough money to live on as the result of a life event. These can include job loss, losing a home, leaving a partner, illness or bereavement. The charity does this through offering cash grants directly to people in crisis and by providing the tools they need to access benefits or other charitable funds through their Benefits Calculator and Grants Search.
Anyone can experience a life event that plunges them into financial crisis, leaving them struggling to stay afloat and locking them into poverty. The covid-19 pandemic exposed this stark reality for so many who are financially insecure. Certain groups, however, saw their income and livelihoods particularly affected – including women, single parents, younger people and people from minoritised backgrounds.
This is why, in October 2020 Turn2us, Ananna, Fair Money Advice (FMA), Haringey Council, Hopscotch, Toynbee Hall, and Support and Action Women’s Network (SAWN) launched the Covid-19 Response Programme, ensuring support could be delivered to those who had been worse affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The aims of the Covid-19 Response Programme were to:
1.) Collectively deepen the organisations’ understanding of the financial issues faced by people who are worst affected by COVID, and the most relevant responses to support these people.
2.) By working together, improve the financial outcomes and wellbeing for those worst affected by COVID, including women and young people, with a particular focus on people from Bangladeshi, Black African and other minoritised ethnic communities.
3.) Increase people’s awareness of, and access to, government financial entitlements via an integrated information campaign.
4.) Learn about whether and how, by working together, it is possible to deepen impact for people in financial difficulty.
The Covid-19 Response Fund closed in March 2021. 954 grants of between £200 and £1,000 were given, totalling £723,301 over the six months. The average amount awarded was £758. Of the grants, 84% given were to women, predominantly Bangladeshi (34%) and Black African (39%) women.
The Covid-19 Response Programme was built off the basis of data and evidence from the community organisations that pointed to women, single parents, younger people and people from minoritised backgrounds being worse affected financially by the pandemic. The findings from this programme illuminated some of the reasons why this is.
Some of the key reasons women applied for grants and faced barriers accessing support:
Reduced household income due to a partner being unable to work due to job loss, a decline in physical health, or death.
58% of people who received a grant were struggling on a reduced or low income as a result of the pandemic. Many of the women were experiencing financial hardship as a result of their partners being unable to work due to job loss, a decline in physical health, or, in some cases, death. Those who had lost their partner were grieving and processing this loss, whilst also dealing with the negative mental impact of financial hardship.
Some of the women had to give up their jobs to become full-time carers for their partners. Single mothers who could not afford increased childcare needs also saw a reduction in their income.
SAWN and Hopscotch, who work to reduce violence against women and girls, saw an increase in referrals from women fleeing abusive relationships during the pandemic. Some women had left the household with their children without any money at all, while others were left with financial obligations they had previously been unaware of, such as bills and debts in their name with no means to pay them back. This meant it was very difficult to become or remain financially self-sufficient, especially for women who were digitally excluded and/or experienced a language barrier.
With the rising cost of living, many families are struggling to afford basics like heating and food. If you can afford to give, please donate to Turn2us now to be a lifeline to families.
If you would like to find out more about Turn2us’s work and how you or your organisation can get involved or lend support, please contact the Turn2us partnership or fundraising teams:
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