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Just Finance

Leave no one behind

Our Just Finance Black Country worker Cassius reflects on the importance of ensuring people on lower incomes are protected from the economic challenges of the Coronavirus

* Updated 19th March 2020 *

Cassius cropped

Rev Cassius Francis

TCT’s Just Finance Black Country Development Worker

The concept of the Latin phrase nemo resideo, or "leave no one behind," is a familiar military strategy that I reflected on in relation to the latest Coronavirus advice and our response to the pandemic.

Matthew 25:40 - And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (NRSV)

Many of us are now having to make difficult decisions about self-isolation, how we care for and connect with family members in different locations and how we look out for our neighbours. There is growing advice through https://111.nhs.uk/ about how to respond to medical concerns, and if you are worried please log on to check the latest information. However, while the medical concerns are real and should be taken seriously I am also thinking about the financial concerns, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.

It was somewhat reassuring to hear our chancellor, Rishi Sunak, offer an unprecedented £350 billion help to businesses that are currently struggling and the repeated mantra that ‘we will do whatever it takes.’ However, I am also wondering about the support for those struggling to pay their rents, the families who access our foodbanks, the children who may not get regular meals if the schools are closed and those who are concerned about taking time off because they may not be eligible for sick pay or may simply lose their job.

I have been heartened by the stories of individuals pulling together, like yesterday’s story in the Express and Star, ‘Star Neighbour: Who is supporting your community during the coronavirus outbreak and how you can help’. BBC News also reported on a group this morning who had received donations to distribute in the community from people who felt guilty after panic buying more than they needed. Locally, our heroic foodbanks have been indicating that they will stay open to offer support for as long as they can, even though their staff and volunteers will be facing all of the pressures that the rest of us are.

Anyone whose income is reduced significantly in the coming weeks and months is advised to check if they may be eligible for:

  • Council Tax Reduction,
  • a Discretionary Housing Payment to pay a shortfall in your rent,
  • or Local Welfare Provision, which is limited to short-term help in a crisis, including food bank vouchers.
  • Check with your local council about crisis loans

So, reflecting on the statement ‘leave no one behind’ please remember those who are most vulnerable at this time. It may be that you or someone you know can volunteer and support someone in your neighbourhood who is in isolation or vulnerable. There are a range of organisations continuing to do amazing work in the Black Country and beyond through the current crises – I have listed some below but please post and let us know about others… Let’s not leave anyone behind!

Useful Resources

Black Country

Black Country Foodbank - https://www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk/coronavirus-update/

Black Country Radio (article) – Coronavirus: 'Unprecedented' plans to support businesses and families revealed http://www.blackcountryradio.co.uk/news/business-news/coronavirus-unprecedented-plans-to-support-businesses-and-families-revealed/

Dudley

Dudley CVS is co-ordinating local COVID-19 efforts to help establish six COVID-19 Support Networks http://dudleycvsreview.org/looking-to-help-with-local-covid-19-efforts/

Sandwell

Bearwood COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/647032279173318/

Oakham/Tividale Covid-19 Community support https://www.facebook.com/groups/296640457978873

Oldbury - Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/272213907102624/

Tipton COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2928224590576438/

Walsall

This is an update from One Walsall on their response:

"We are calling for all volunteers and community groups in Walsall to get in touch with us if they would like to offer support as the coronavirus pandemic grows. We are looking for:

  • Volunteers to support people in your local area who are self-isolating. This may include delivery of food parcels or cleaning products to members of the public who are older and more vulnerable.
  • Community groups working locally who may be looking to use paid staff to offer outreach support in their area and would like advice on the best way of helping.

Please contact us on 01922 619840 or email info@onewalsall.org if you think you can help with any of the following:

  • Delivery of food or other packages to the community.
  • Over the phone befriending support to check on self-isolating people, ensuring they remain safe and well.
  • Groups or volunteers looking to co-ordinate donations responses to the community.
  • Groups working with families or carers of those affected by coronavirus.
  • Any other support you may like to offer people at this time.

Find Help

If you are a community group or group of volunteers that are supporting people affected by coronavirus and you need some extra help and support, please contact us on 01922 619840 or email info@onewalsall.org

Wolverhampton

Express & Star (article) - Star Neighbour: Who is supporting your community during the coronavirus outbreak and how you can help https://www.expressandstar.com/news/health/coronavirus-covid19/2020/03/17/black-country-coronavirus-see-all-the-people-helping-your-local-community/

Wolverhampton Council - As part of Local Welfare Assistance, 'Crisis Loans' and 'Welfare Assistance Loans' may be able to be provided by Wolverhampton City Credit Union in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council to people living in Wolverhampton. Loans may be accessed through Wolverhampton City Credit Union https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/benefits/benefits-universal-credit-welfare-reform/local-welfare-assistance

Wolverhampton COVID-19 Mutual Aid https://www.facebook.com/groups/WolvesCOVID19MutualAid/

Nationwide

Citizen’s Advice - Coronavirus - what it means for you https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/

Money Advice Service – Coronavirus and Your Money https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-and-your-money

Money Saving Expert - Coronavirus Financial Help & Rights: Sick pay, mortgages, rental help, energy top-ups, cancelled events & more https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/

Trussell Trust – Coronavirus and Foodbanks https://www.trusselltrust.org/coronavirus-food-banks/

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:40 (NRSV)