Without doubt, this has been the busiest January for the last 6 years. We’d normally spend between £5,000 and £6,000 in January on one-off grants in addition to the people that we help year in, year out. January is traditionally quiet and then it usually picks up through February as debts from Christmas hit. This year we’ve spent £8,121 so far in January alone and with the lockdown now extended once again, the stresses and anxieties that people face are only going to get worse.
We have taken a quick look at what people are asking for help with and the associated demographics. The results are interesting, but sadly, entirely predictable.
Most requests for help are coming from people of working age, with families. Delving a little deeper, the preponderance is for assistance meeting council tax and rent arrears as well as utility bill arrears, all of which have grown substantially. Anecdotally, it seems that people have struggled through the furloughs and lockdowns of 2020, and now, finally, everything has caught up with them and they have been forced to face the fact that they need help. From those that we have helped this month, thankfully they haven’t yet reached crisis point where eviction or prosecution is inevitable, but they are awfully close.
What worries me is how many of these people have been sitting at home, worried sick about paying their bills rather than seeking help early on?
The earlier that we can intervene, the better the long-term outcome. Vaccine or no vaccine, this problem isn’t going to go away any time soon and we need to get the message out to people that seeking help early is the best option. Leaving it until the last-minute limits our options and could lead to eviction or worse.
The stories behind the applications all say the same thing; that getting another job if you are made redundant or have your hours reduced is significantly tougher than it was before, witnessed by today’s unemployment figures. People have exhausted the routes to get extra money like borrowing from family or loading credit cards and now they’ve reached a point where something breaks.
If you are a manager or in a management position, PLEASE get the word out to those around you that asking for help isn’t failure, it is a realistic solution to an incredibly rare situation. We are your industry charity and are here to support you and your colleagues. Look beyond the smiley face in the warehouse or in the sales office. When staff leave and go home, it all changes – home schooling, furloughed partner on 80% of income, stress, delays of 8 weeks in receiving Universal Credit.
If you’re a CEO or business owner, it’s OK if you don’t know what to do to help! There’s no shame in that; the world works best when we have partnerships and that is what the Rainy Day Trust is here for. As we say, if you need us, we are here, if you don’t, we need you.
To contact the Charity for support, call 0800 9154627 or email via the RDT website https://www.rainydaytrust.org.uk/contact-us/
Potential fundraising partnerships, contact Bryan direct firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07939 541289