We need your support. Please send this letter to your local MP:
In March 2015, the funding which enables local authorities to help people in crisis and in one-off emergency situations in their communities will end.
It’s not a fund that creates a dependency culture which welfare reforms are trying to remedy; it’s a small fund that exists to help vulnerable people and families in one-off, crisis situations.
The only people and organisations likely to benefit from this Government decision will be pay-day lenders and loan sharks; thereby exacerbating debt problems for vulnerable people.
Typical recipients of the hardship fund are low-income families who suffer sudden financial crisis as a result of domestic violence, ill-health or natural disaster such as flooding.
Many FRN members (frontline charities providing low-cost essential furniture, household goods and increasingly, food) are struggling to meet the demands from individuals and families. Many are actually working but cost of living increases, zero hour contracts etc., mean they simply cannot afford to replace items once they break down or get damaged.
We’re talking about people in abject need.
Please read this story we ran in April 2014.
The good news was that St Vincent de Paul met with Keith after the programme aired. They tracked him down.
Asked how he could be helped, he just asked for some food and a pair of shoes that wouldn’t let in water. Clearly he needed more than this but his request for support was a humble one.
If you are concerned about the removal of this last safety net, please write to your local MP using or adapting the attached letter.
But please hurry. Pay-day lenders are chomping at the bit and counting down the days to 1st April 2015.
Contact: Helen Middleton, Market Development Manager, Furniture Re-use Network
Local authorities currently use the LWA fund to give emergency help to people facing crisis situations, including families under the threat of homelessness or domestic abuse. It has also paid for vouchers for people struggling to afford food and basic household essentials.
It was introduced in 2013 to replace government-provided crisis loans, with each local authority area allocated money from the £347m total. This year's local government finance settlement revealed, however, that funding would not be renewed in 2015.
Spread across 152 local authorities in England, £174 million per annum is not a huge amount of money, but the impact on people's lives is considerable and in some cases helps people move away from the dependency culture; it is often the first step towards self-reliance and financial independence.
FRN’s chief concern is that low income households will turn to pay-day lenders and loan sharks, thereby creating a greater spiral of debt.
FRN supports the Government’s plan to ask local authorities to assess local needs and provide the appropriate support, but the problem lies in how they fund this support; a tough challenge as local authority budgets reduce and resources are stretched further.
The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) is the national body which supports assists and develops around 300+ charitable re-use organisations and social enterprises across the UK that collect a wide range of household items to pass onto people in need. We do this to reduce poverty by helping households in need access furniture, white goods and other household items at affordable prices. In addition, we support re-use organisations in providing training and work placement opportunities for people who are socially excluded. The FRN is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee.
Re-use charities utilise unwanted furniture, large and small domestic electrical appliances, clothing and other household goods that would otherwise be destined for landfill, thereby providing both welfare and waste prevention solutions for local authorities.
On average each year, our sector helps over 950,000 households across the whole of the UK. In 2012/13 the FRN network reused 2.7millions items of furniture and electrical equipment. This equates to 110,000 tonnes of waste prevented and saves low income families across the UK in the order of around £350 million