An increasing number of households up and down the country are faced with a daily struggle to make ends meet. Testimonies abound of parents skipping meals so their children can have enough to eat. One in 10 people in England say they have personal experience of homelessness; and the number of people sleeping rough in London has doubled in the past five years.
Financial inclusion is also a problem: people experiencing financial distress, particularly those on low incomes, are often reluctant to talk about their problems or seek help. And the complexity of different financial products, as well as the benefits system, often makes the idea of finding a solution seem impossible.
Besides material poverty, there is also the growing issue of social isolation and loneliness, and the related consequences for people’s mental health. The number of people who describe themselves as lonely is growing every year. People with mental health problems, who can struggle to connect with the people around them, face further isolation and stigmatisation.
These are just a handful of the problems facing communities. Through the work of Together Southwark, the Diocese of Southwark is committed to doing all it can to resource churches and foster partnerships with local communities in order to respond to these areas of need.
For more information on Together Southwark, its work and how you can get involved, see the Together Southwark web page.
The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by over 11,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs – like the weekly shop or an unexpected trip to the dentist. This year more than ever it is important that workers, especially the lowest-paid, receive a fair rate of pay for their work. The Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually, calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Today, the rate is £10.90 per hour outside of London and £11.95 in the capital to reflect the higher cost of living in London. The Living Wage rates are updated in November each year during Living Wage Week which in 2022 ran from 14 to 20 November.
If you want to find out more about the Living Wage, please read the Living Wage Church toolkit including the foreword by Bishop Christopher.