In response to the cost-of-living crisis, in August 2022 we launched our Somerset Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal. With inflation a 40-year high and the cost of household essentials like food, energy and fuel soaring, we knew that many of our Somerset neighbours would be facing extremely tough times. At the time of launching the Appeal, around 50,000 people were living on low-incomes – many of them living in poverty.
No one should have to choose between feeding themselves or their children. No one should have to choose between heating and eating. No one should be plunged into insurmountable debt to pay for basic living costs.
Thanks to the incredible support of many local funders, partners, charitable trusts, businesses and over 200 individual donors, we raised an incredible £900,000 for our communities.
We used the funds raised to provide four key strands of support:
Warm Hubs: we provided swift funding of £1,000 each to 40 warm hubs across the county, providing a warm space for people struggling to heat their homes. Many warm spaces also offered activities, additional advice and support, or food and hot drinks.
Cost-of-Living Grants: almost £500,000 of our funding was used to make grants of up to £10,000 to support groups to meet increased demand from those hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis, offset the impact of inflation on their organisation, or subsidise community activities to ensure access for all in times of financial hardship.
Somerset Move-In Fund: we re-opened our Move-In Fund, which originally ran for 2 years from 2019. The Fund, run in partnership with local homelessness charities, provides grants of up to £2,000 for individuals who have been offered housing but can’t afford to furnish or carpet their homes. Guy, a beneficiary of Arc, a homeless charitable organisation based in Taunton, said of the Fund: “The money has definitely helped me settle into my new property with less to worry about, it really has made a massive difference to me.”
Helping community buildings become more sustainable: Village Halls and Community Centres have also suffered from soaring energy costs. We’re working together with Community Council for Somerset to pilot a scheme offering energy audits at 17 village halls and community centres across Somerset to help them reduce their bills and become more sustainable so they can continue to offer free and affordable activities for their communities. Each community building will be provided with a prioritised programme of energy efficiency measures. We will use the balance of our funds to help the groups implement this work, as well as working with other funders to help source additional funding needed.
You can read more about how we used our funds, including case studies of groups supported, in our Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal Impact Report.
We are running our Surviving Winter Appeal as normal in 2023 to support vulnerable older people living in fuel poverty.
Donations will fund:
- Vital grants to help older people on low incomes to cover their heating costs
- Community meals, befriending support or activities to reduce loneliness and isolation
- Energy saving advice and access to free energy-efficiency improvements for the home
- Advice on benefits and finding local support services and community groups
You can read more about it here.
Sources of help and support for individuals
For other sources of help and support for individuals who are worried about the cost-of-living crisis, click here.