Anti-poverty charities brace themselves for an ‘impossible’ winter

18 Nov 2021 News

Charities like The Trussell Trust and Aberlour have launched fundraising campaigns because they face a rise in demand, with one charity claiming a multitude of pressures will force families to make "impossible decisions" this winter. 

This comes in the wake of findings that 60% of charity leaders believe demand on key staff will increase over winter. Commissioned by the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, the research surveyed 500 individual charity leaders. 

The survey also found seven in 10 of charity leaders feared charity staff would burnout due to a "perfect storm" of pressures. These pressures included the pandemic, rises in living costs, public service backlogs and cuts to services by other agencies which could combine to increase the public’s reliance on the charity sector.  

Likewise, welfare cuts coupled with an increase in gas, electricity and food prices is putting pressure on anti-poverty charities to help even more people this winter. The Financial Times reported a potential 50% increase in bills for some households. 

The Trussell Trust’s campaign – Fight Against Hunger this Winter

The Trussell Trust joined with creative agency GOOD to launch its campaign to fight hunger this winter. The food bank charity explained that every year they receive a 23% increase in emergency food parcels over the winter months. 

But in the wake of the Universal Credit cut and rise in living costs, the charity anticipates an even more drastic rise in demand for these services this festive season. The campaign encourages donors to "help people facing impossible decisions this winter". 

The Trussell Trust’s campaign says many will be having to choose between life’s essentials in order to survive. Fuel poverty is a particular concern for the charity, with one campaign poster displaying a mother saying: "I sit in the dark to save money for food."

Designed to drive donations to the charity, the campaign is being run through a digital and direct mail appeal, social media, press inserts, mail, display banners and a PR activation. 

Justin Wylie, head of audience insight and engagement at The Trussell Trust, said: "Winter is a particularly tough time for millions of people as they struggle to cover the essentials such as heating, bills and food. With the cost of living set to increase, we are concerned that too many families will once again be forced into making impossible decisions and left with no option but to use a food bank.

"Working together with GOOD Agency, our new campaign boldly illustrates the heart-breaking realities that millions of people will be facing this winter. By bringing to life these impossible decisions – like cooking a hot meal or switching on the heating – we hope to build public will to fight hunger and end the need for food banks, for good."

Aberlour – Poverty to Hope Fundraising Appeal

New research from Scottish children’s charity Aberlour predicted a hard winter for those experiencing financial destitution. The charity's survey found 71% of parents in Scotland were worried about their family finances, and seven in 10 parents are concerned about their children’s future chances. 

Aberlour believes that the end of furlough, rise in utility bills and cut to the Universal Credit uplift will have "long term implications for children and families living in Scotland’s most deprived areas".  

The charity reported that since March 2020, its Urgent Assistance Fund has given over £1.5m in cash and short-term relief to 5,090 families and 10,927 children in poverty. But its funds are dwindling, while applications to its Urgent Assistance Fund are rising. 

SallyAnn Kelly, CEO of Aberlour, said: "We’ve launched our Poverty to Hope Appeal, to raise awareness of the desperate situation thousands of children and families are facing right now. We are asking the public to donate what they can this Christmas so that we can continue to offer long-term support and hope to more children and their families."

Professor Morag Treanor from the Institute of Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University commented on Aberlour’s findings: "This survey confirms what I and my colleagues are also finding. More and more Scottish families are being dragged under by the rising tide of poverty and are simply unable to keep their heads above water. The stress this puts on parents can be unbearable and results in multiple adverse effects on them and their children."

The Big Issue – The Big Wish

The UK’s most popular street newspaper, The Big Issue, has launched a campaign called the Big Wish to support its 1,300 vendors across the country. 

Created in partnership with creative consultancy Fox & Hare, the charity’s digital campaign will support vendors who are facing high streets with reduced footfall due to the pandemic. 

The Big Wish has been launched with graphics across social media as well as being underpinned by a PR campaign. These graphics will display vendor’s wishes this Christmas.

Clive, a Big Issue vendor, who sells in Plymouth, said: "I would like me and my dog to come up to travel up to London to visit an old friend of mine I haven't seen for 11 years."

Rahala, who sells the magazine in Bournemouth, said: "I hope for this year to be much better than last year. Last year was so hard. I hope I can have a nice year with my children and treat them to a nice Christmas!... I also wish for my health! and for everyone else's health."

Founder of The Big Issue, Lord John Bird, said: "Our Big Issue vendors used to thrive in Winter but with much quieter high-streets, they're now struggling to get by, more than ever before. 

"We all have Christmas wishes and our vendors are no exception. Our vendors are working hard this Christmas to achieve their Christmas wishes by selling The Big Issue. Whether it’s saving to take their son out for the day or a train ticket home to see their family. 
"With your support, you can help us be here for our vendors this Christmas. That's because every time you buy a copy of The Big Issue, subscribe or donate, you are helping our vendors to work their way out of poverty by providing 'a hand up not a hand out'. You're helping Big Issue vendors achieve their Big Wish."

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