If you don’t need it, good deed it
Stephen Pearson, chair of Financial Inclusion for Scotland, and Carolyn Sawers, chief executive of Corra, launch an initiative where people can help those most in need of support with energy costs.
At the launch event of Financial Inclusion for Scotland (FIFS), the audience heard an urgent and heartfelt plea from one speaker. “This is an emergency”, she said, “We need action not words.” We heard that food banks are running out of food and that we risk returning to levels of hunger for some people not seen since Victorian times.
Hardly a day goes by without further reports of hardship in parts of our communities, where some people are living on the edges of society. 850,000 Scots have no savings to fall back on. Many fear asking for help, with the resulting stigma that attaches to such requests. No one chooses to be in this position.
The immediate reaction of many in the room at the FIFS launch was, “But what can we do?” Well, the pre-Christmas launch of the GIVE400.scot initiative may provide at least part of the answer. GIVE400 was conceived to try and help to address the urgency of the situation in many households and to help tackle fuel poverty and the cost of living crisis in Scotland.
Every household in the UK is receiving a £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme payment from the UK Government in six monthly instalments this winter. The simple idea of GIVE400 is to encourage those who can afford to do so, to donate all or part of that £400 (or indeed more if they wish) to a charity or good cause of their choice. Alternatively, they can give to the Household Hardship Fund of the well-respected Scottish charity, Corra Foundation, which makes small grants to charities and community groups across Scotland, delivering funding directly to families and individuals on low income, with cash or vouchers to cover food, fuel, household items and clothing. Many people donate time and money already of course. But we know that this initiative is already providing additional support.
In the initial pre-Christmas period, over £30,000 was donated to Corra in response to GIVE400.scot, with unmeasured further amounts to other causes. Already, recipients are commenting on the huge difference this is making.
The GIVE400 proposition is straightforward. If you don’t need it, good deed it. Suppose only 5,000 households in Scotland make that £400 donation, in whatever way they choose. That in itself would contribute an extra £2 million to help those in the greatest need this winter. That would indeed be action not words.