But surely, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of[my life.

Psalm 54:4

We are all wrestling with issues around the cost of living, as we see our bills and food expenditure rising inexorably week after week. This might feel especially acute for families with school-aged children who inevitably have a long list of expensive requirements every September. Many of us are also struggling with church and charity energy bills, whilst also looking for ways to help those who are even more badly affected by the current situation. This post brings together some sources of information and resources, and will be updated when more information is available.

 

Resources

London Plus has put together a comprehensive list of organisations and resources that can offer help with the cost of living. They are keeping this updated and so it’s a good place to look, for example if you are looking to signpost people to organisations for support.

Click here for some simple information on accessing the energy support scheme if you use a prepayment meter (kindly shared with us by a member of clergy in the Diocese of London).

 

Other resources

Together Southwark is a charity of the Diocese of Southwark which supports the vision of the Diocese in the area of social action, and supports the work of our churches in alleviating poverty and deprivation. There are many resources on the Together Southwark website and Nelly Misenga can be contacted for more help.

 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.  They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Acts 4: 34-35

Acts 435 is an organisation which seeks to share resources, directly connecting those who want to give with those in urgent need. A number of churches in the Diocese have signed up as Acts 435 advocates: get in touch with Nelly at Together Southwark for more information.

The National Databank are providing free data to 500,000 people in need via Good Things Foundation’s network of community partners. You can join as a Community Partner to access their support, training, and access devices and SIM cards for those in need.

They describe it ‘like a foodbank but for internet connectivity’ and it can be linked to an existing food bank or other welcome initiative.

Bags of Taste run FREE cookery classes (including ingredients) in Sutton and Wandsworth: you can sign up here. They aim to help people cook and eat healthier food for less money.

 

Warm banks

The Warm Welcome Campaign, in which the Church Urban Fund and Christians Against Poverty are partners, is encouraging churches and other organisations to sign up to provide warm, welcoming spaces this winter. We recognise that churches themselves are facing soaring energy bills and in many cases are looking at reducing their opening times, not increasing them. But if there are times that your church, parish hall or community centre is heated and open, or could be open, then do consider pledging your support.  If you are thinking about how to open your church as a warm space this winter, do have a look at the blog written by our Director of Mission, Canon Jay Colwill.

We are gathering information from individual Local Authorities about warm bank or warm space initiatives, and any available funding, and will add it here as it becomes available.

Southwark Council are gathering information about available warm spaces – if you are opening, or might open if you had funding, let the Council know.

 

Structural change

Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9

The sections above are all focused around the third mark of mission, to respond to human need by loving service. But it is also important that we work to tackle the root causes of injustice, and transform unjust structures of society, as set out in the fourth mark of mission.

This can seem really challenging but you can start on a small scale by writing to your MP. The Trussell Trust have made this really easy by providing an online form to fill in which will even find your MP for you! It might not seem like much, but MPs listen to the concerns of the people they represent, and if no one is writing to them about an issue they will assume that we don’t care about it.

There is no doubt that this will be a challenging season for many of us and we pray for all those struggling with these issues