National Lottery helps those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis
Sonya Johnson knows all too well how the cost of living crisis is affecting vulnerable people in her community. As the chief officer of a National Lottery-supported project distributing surplus food in Warwickshire, she says an increasing number of people – young and old – are being forced to choose between food and heating.
Sonya, the chief officer for the Nuneaton and Bedworth Healthy Living Network, said, “People tell us that without us there is nothing else – we are keeping the heat on, keeping their children fed. It is a huge responsibility.”
Sonya says support from The National Lottery has played a crucial role in allowing her organisation to help out. She said, “Without National Lottery funding we would undoubtedly have ceased to exist. Not only [has the funding] allowed periods of stability, it has provided the confidence to grow, scale up and expand.”
As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, funding made possible by National Lottery players is helping provide vital support to struggling communities up and down the UK.
Many existing National Lottery funding programmes have been adapted or tailored to support those most affected by the soaring cost of essentials such as food, housing and energy. An initial £75Million has been made available to support a diverse group of projects providing everything from free hot meals and food parcels, to warm places for people struggling to afford heating and money management and mental health initiatives.
Stephen O’Hara (pictured) from Coleraine in Northern Ireland, delivers up to 100 food parcels a week to people in need. The retired train conductor, who recovered from a bout of severe depression with the help of National Lottery-funded project Be Safe Be Well, is back on his feet and determined to help out.
Stephen said, “I've encountered people that have no heating. I know a mother of 3 who had no money and her food cupboards were empty. If I wasn't doing what I am with the food drops, there would be a lot more people struggling.”
Another project in Northern Ireland benefitting from funding is Strabane & District Caring Services. It is using £10,000 of National Lottery funding to run a community lounge for people facing social isolation and those hardest hit by the increased cost of living.
Cheryl Ferguson, a former substance misuser from Dundee who turned her life around with the support of National Lottery-funded Just Bee Productions, is doing her bit to help out vulnerable people in her Scottish community. As Just Bee Productions’ Community Cafe Supervisor, Cheryl uses her love of food to help those struggling to pay the bills. She said, “I do the cooking for the drop-ins and speak to people - I just support them indirectly, feeding them and having a chat with them.”
More than half of UK adults (55 percent) believe supporting people with the rising cost of living is most important for the wellbeing of their local community, according to new research commissioned by The National Lottery*. Almost half (49 percent) of those surveyed intend to volunteer in 2023 with young people (69 percent) leading the way.
*Research conducted on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund by Savanta ComRes between 2nd and 28th November 2022, amongst 8,968 UK adults weighted to be representative of UK adults by gender, age, region, social grade and ethnicity.
20th January 2023
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