Cost-of-living crisis drop in helped many people over winter
published on 15 May 2023
Cost-of-living crisis drop in hailed a success thanks to local funding helping over 250 people through winter
A drop-in service provided by The Salvation Army Oldham Fitton Hill offering targeted support to struggling families over the winter months helped over 250 people.
Residents of Oldham were able to access the support on offer by the church and charity thanks to a £9,000 grant from the local council’s Household Support Fund to help people struggling with rising costs through the winter period.
The drop in ran weekly for one hour on a Monday for a period of six months, from November to beginning of April, from the church and charity’s community centre located at The Brew on Fir Tree Lane Precinct in Fitton Hill.
In total over 250 people accessed the service and were given help in the form of energy support, where a one-off payment was provided to top up pre-payment meters for the hardest hit people of Oldham, as well as clothing support and food supplies via Iceland vouchers.
People struggling with the rising cost in living could access the provision through a self-referral and The Salvation Army also accepted referrals from third party partners including doctors, schools, and health visitors.
Major Estelle Blake, church leader of The Salvation Army Oldham Fitton Hill reflected on the support given which one day saw eight women arrive in their work uniforms following a shift as they struggled to make ends meet with the wage they were getting. She said: “When people arrive straight from work, having just completed a shift because what they are earning simply isn’t enough to help them and their families survive is deeply concerning.
“We applied for the grant knowing that Oldham has pockets of deprivation and that with the cost-of-living crisis raging on, extra help would be needed and it is in our nature to seek opportunities and provide help to those that need our support.”
The funding from Oldham Council came through the Household Support Fund which invests in charities to enable them to provide direct support to the residents and households they work with who are at risk due to the adverse impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
Major Estelle continued: “One lady turned up asking for help with her energy costs as the rise in prices saw her with little money left for food, she shared how she had fed her children chicken nuggets for breakfast as that is all she had in the house. For many, these are desperate times we are living in.
“We simply could not have provided the level of support we did without the funding, and it went quickly, as the need in the area is huge. In the end we had to find extra funding to continue the support for longer as the need was there. It is always there.”
While the winter drop-in has now come to an end, The Salvation Army at Oldham Fitton Hill offers a warm welcome to the whole community and signposting to other services.
The Salvation Army has a Just Giving page, dedicated specifically to its work in Oldham Fitton Hill which can be found at www.justgiving.com/oldham-fitton-hill-the-salvation-army1 and whilst donations of all sizes are welcome, people are encouraged to donate only what they can afford.