On Thursday 18th March 2021, our Chair of Trustees, the Reverend Dean Aaron Roberts, highlighted the increasing challenge of debt in a presentation about the work of The Parish Trust over the course of 2020 to the Caerphilly County Borough Council Voluntary Sector Liaison Committee.
In the presentation, Rev. Dean shared with the committee how the charity was able to set up and deliver The CARE Project as well as our apprenticeship scheme, The Profectus Programme, despite the various challenges and restrictions that dominated the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rev. Dean highlighted the success of Charity in helping over 9000 people through 2020, and how this was achieved due to the large number of generous volunteers, grant funders, and donors, without whom the work of The Parish Trust would not be possible.
Rev. Dean also highlighted that next week, 22nd and 28th March, is National Debt Awareness Week. Rev. Dean reminded the Committee of the critical role the Voluntary Sector plays in alleviating need in the community, and reported that levels of debt and poverty in the UK is expected to rise exponentially as the country starts to adapt to life post-lockdown.
The FCA have predicted that we can expect a demand for an additional 1-1.5m debt advice sessions (a 200-300% increase) and that the demands on debt advice due to Covid-19 are likely to last for many years.
Alongside this, the Resolution Foundation have reported some concerning statistics about the evolving nature of poverty in the UK due to the Pandemic.
• Over half of all single parents are now in receipt of UC (Universal Credit)
• 33% of new UC claimants report their family income (including UC) to be at least 40 per cent lower in January 2021 than its pre-pandemic level
• 20% are behind on essential bills
• 30% of families that started claiming UC during this crisis are more in debt than they were in February 2020
• 61% of families on UC say they will struggle to keep up or will fall behind on bills (twice the proportion of families across the economy as a whole) in the next 3 months.
Therefore, over the course of the next few years, charities like The Parish Trust will play an increasingly important role in helping to support those who have been adversely affected by the last year, and those for whom 2020 exacerbated pre-existing challenges. The charity will continue its vital work of The CARE Project, and will now start to put projects and initiatives in place to come alongside those facing financial issues, signposting them to relevant help and support.
The Parish Trust will also continue to encourage people to make the decision to request food parcels from the charity to assist with cutting down bills so that the money saved can be used elsewhere to pay off debt, and keep on top of rent or bills.
You can watch Rev. Dean’s presentation to the Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Voluntary Sector Liaison Committee below (from 1:05:00 in):