Call for churches to strengthen the safety net

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Jun, 2019 04:32 PM

The Children's Society is calling for urgent action from churches, as well as from the Government and local councils, to strengthen crisis support for those most vulnerable on low incomes.

The Society is asking the Government and councils to earmark funding and issue guidance which can help protect vulnerable families from the further distress and hardship that a financial emergency can cause.

But it is also asking churches and congregations to play their part in their "Strengthening the safety net" campaign.

Among the things they are asking churches and PCCs to do to support the campaign is to contact their local council, to ask them to strengthen the safety net for families in crisis.

Resources that include posters, leaflets and a resources pack for a service on the subject can be downloaded at childrenssociety.org.uk/safetynet.

You can also listen to the Society's crisis podcast, which features interviews with a councillor, the founder of a foodbank, a service user, and a Children’s Society campaigner about what crisis looks like, the challenges facing crisis support and what the solutions to this problem might be.

A spokesperson for the Society said:

"The effects of a financial crisis if you’re already struggling on a low income, barely managing to get by and don’t have family or friends who can help, can be disastrous.

"The past years have seen rising numbers of people turning to local crisis services. The response and role of the church has been substantial, expressing faith through action by providing vital safety net services such as foodbanks, debt management and winter shelters.

"Support for people experiencing a financial crisis used to be provided by local authority local support assistance schemes. However, the need to make tough decisions in a very challenging economic climate has seen two thirds of local authorities either cut or scrap their schemes.

"Faith groups, charities and community groups are doing a wonderful job striving to keep this fraying safety net together. However, they cannot, and should not, replace a well-resourced, accessible and joined up net of support."

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