Appeal launched to support increasing hardship in the county

Today Wiltshire Community Foundation is responding to the increasing hardship being felt by people in the county by launching a Cost of Living Crisis Appeal.

The appeal will generate vital funds to help grassroots voluntary groups and charities in Swindon and Wiltshire who are supporting families and individuals in the face of escalating rent, food and energy prices.

Commenting on the appeal Joint Chief Executive Fiona Oliver said, “We are hearing of increased need across the county with food banks running out of food and more and more people unable to afford to eat or heat their homes to a safe level.

“The price of food has risen faster in the last year than at any time since 1980, typical energy bills have doubled, rents and other household costs are escalating.

“The money raised through this appeal with fund a new grants programme to support projects which are keeping people fed and warm and provide additional practical support and advice to help people cope throughout this period of great hardship.”

Charities in Swindon and Wiltshire, including foodbanks, debt advisors, family support and mental health groups, have reported that they have seen a sharp rise in demand for their services in recent months – at a time when their own costs are rising.

Counselling and advice group Crosspoint in Westbury says it has received double the number of visitors it normally has and is now setting up a Money Advice Centre in response to the growing calls for debt advice.

Heals in Malmesbury has told us that the number of foodbank vouchers they distribute is 75 per cent higher than last year and that they are seeing a large number of new people who haven’t needed their help previously. Additionally, the organisation established a Community Fridge in August which they initially opened three times a week but now they are restocking it every day such is the demand.

Fiona Oliver continued, “The tougher the financial pressures placed on people the more the effects ripple out into other areas of their lives – with poor mental health, low self-esteem, domestic abuse and family breakdown all attributed to increased poverty.

“Young people’s education is also harmed – it is hard to concentrate at school when you are tired, hungry and worried about what is happening at home.

“Many of the groups and charities we work with are small and they face the same pressures as the people they seek to help, with energy, rent, fuel and other running costs eating further into their income and leaving them with stark choices about which services they maintain – at the very point when people need them the most.

“We know that everyone is facing an extra squeeze on their finances at the moment but any amount donated to the appeal will help some of the amazing groups across Wiltshire and Swindon maintain the support they are giving to families and individuals.

“Some people have already kindly made a donation of all or part of their Winter Fuel Allowance or Energy Bill Discount as they are in a position not to need all of it and we are able to direct this generosity to where it is needed most, helping to support vulnerable local people at a time of crisis. It’s at times like these that Wiltshire and Swindon’s boundless community spirit shines through.”

You can donate to the appeal here or call the donation line on 01380 738989 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Back to news