A new scheme run by a partnership of charities and advice agencies in Kensington and Chelsea is providing cash payments to local residents struggling with the cost of living crisis.
The K+C Cash First program helps give community members the respite to pay their immediate bills and access longer-lasting support.
For example, if a resident loses their job and has no savings, the five-week wait for Universal Credit leaves them with no choice but to take out payday loans or starve themselves so that his family can eat.
Alongside this, an advice and referral service helps residents access emergency money to also receive personalized information and support on a range of issues from housing and employment to mental health.
“For households facing a financial crisis, often unable to afford to buy food or turn on their heating, the provision of a small cash grant provides an immediate lifeline,” said Victoria Steward Todd, director of the K+C Foundation, the charity that coordinates the program.
“It gives residents the respite to access much-needed financial advice and holistic support from our trusted frontline advice charities, which in turn helps them avoid sinking deeper into debt. unmanageable.”
The K+C Cash First scheme was only launched by the Foundation in February 2022 and has already helped 85 residents with one-off cash grants totaling nearly £10,000.
It helps residents access advice and support with one of four local partners, Age UK K&C, Citizens Advice K&C, Nucleus Legal Advice Center and Worlds End Neighborhood Advice Centre.
Caseworkers assess eligibility and provide immediate cash support using a new award-winning cash payment solution called Cash Perks. The system securely sends payments via SMS allowing the recipient to retrieve allocated funds 24/7 from ATMs, all without the need for a bank card.
Beneficiaries already include Keisha, a single mother with mental health issues and her 3-year-old son, who has special educational needs. As a housekeeper, she struggles to pay childcare costs.
This, combined with the increase in her current living expenses caused by the energy crisis, has caused her to go without food in order to be able to pay her utility bills and feed her son.
When Keisha was referred to the K+C Cash First program, she was in considerable distress. Thanks to this scheme, she has now been able to pay her utility bill for the next 2 months and has received an emergency payment of £80 to help pay her food bills. Keisha will continue to receive support from local counseling services.
More information is available here.