X

Clarion announces £500,000 in new Cost of Living Emergency Fund to support residents

Clarion Housing Group, the country’s largest social landlord, has announced a new £500,000 fund to help social housing residents manage through the cost of living crisis. The commitment more than doubles the value of the existing hardship fund run to benefit residents in greatest need.

The new £500,000 Cost of Living Emergency Fund will cover four key areas, supporting:

  • Warm spaces in Clarion’s community centres;
  • The expansion of food pantries and other food-related projects in a number of sites across the country;
  • ‘Cooking on a budget’ classes and activities for children and families in Clarion’s communities; and
  • Warm packs comprising items such as heated blankets, draught excluders and duvets for residents at risk of fuel poverty.

Clarion has a long record of providing extra support to social housing residents in hardship. Prior to this year, Clarion Futures, the group’s charitable foundation, managed a hardship fund worth £300,000 per annum. The hardship fund provides kitchen appliances, beds and bedding, school uniform, food, gas and electric energy vouchers for residents who are struggling to make ends meet.

The new package of support has been developed in response to the latest figures from The Index*, an annual survey of 2,000 Clarion residents, which found evidence of rising levels of financial instability.

According to the research, 85% of Clarion residents are worried about increasing energy bills, with 65% having to cut back on household spending. In addition, 18% have gone without food in the last year because they couldn't afford it, and 12% of residents have used a food bank.

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, said:
“Every year we help thousands of our residents through our charitable foundation, but with the cost of living crisis biting, now is the time to do more.

“That’s why we’ve pledged an additional £500,000 to support people living in our communities through our Cost of Living Emergency Fund, demonstrating our commitment to doing all we can to support our residents through these turbulent times.”

Sam Kirkby, who manages one of Clarion’s community centres in Bradford, said:
“Clarion Futures have stepped in to fill the gap for residents in the current cost of living crisis and thanks to this new funding, we’ll be able to reach more local people through our food pantry. Without this support winter would be very bleak.”

Dr. Theo Gavrielides, Founder and Director of The Restorative Justice 4 All International Institute which runs Clarion’s community centre in Rotherhithe, said:
“Community cohesion and reduction in anti-social behaviour cannot be achieved if communities' basic needs are not addressed first. Amidst the cost of living crisis, funding from Clarion Futures and other partners will help us to provide stability through a safe, accessible and warm space. This will enable members of the local community to access holistic services and keep warm, so that nobody has to make the choice between heating or eating this winter.”

A Clarion resident living in Manchester said:
“We’ll have to cut back on food and other things to pay for gas and electric, because there’s no way I can do it…You just can’t physically pay everything.

“I can’t be without gas and electric because of my conditions and I have to choose one or the other, and I choose my gas and electric I’m afraid.”

To find out more about the grants available, email grants@clarionhg.com.