As the government and NHS work tirelessly to control and defeat coronavirus, as people’s worlds shrink to walking distance, as family relationships and friendships are forced online, and most devastatingly, as the world mourns the heart-breaking loss to life, we have begun to see the green shoots of collectivism sprout. People are coming together for the interest of others igniting the resurgence of community spirit the world over.
And it’s needed.
As the world faces the biggest battle in modern peacetime, we are witnessing people fall below the poverty line and experience hardship on scales the world was not prepared for.
Together, housing associations provide homes for around 6 million residents, some of whom are amongst the most vulnerable in society, many balanced on an economic knife-edge. It’s already clear that the legacy of coronavirus will not just be the shattering loss to life, but also an economic crisis which runs far and deep. In response to this, and as the world around us is transformed, it’s humbling to see housing associations quickly adapt to work in new ways to support residents’ by creating hardship funds to help those most in need, developing innovative community partnerships, and supporting local charities and initiatives.
We know that battling the economic impact of the crisis today isn’t something that can be achieved by government or any organisation working alone. It demands the collective power and spirit of people, organisations and communities uniting to meet the challenges our society faces.
We know two of the basic necessities in life are to have a roof over head and food on the table, yet we see the injustice in society day in day out as these basic provisions aren’t afforded to all. Now, more than ever before, we need to work to right this social imbalance by not only supporting people in the now, but thinking strategically and as a collective to the longer term.
This is why I am putting a call out to join Accent Housing and other organisations from across the sector to support an initiative which aims to raise £1m for the Trussell Trust.
Founded in 1997, the Trussell Trust, together with over 28,000 volunteers, supports the UK’s largest network of food banks with 1,200 centres from the far south of Cornwall to the heights of Shetland.
There has been a surge in demand on the trust’s foodbanks as a result of coronavirus, with early indications suggesting more than an 80% increase across the network.
The campaign ‘More than Homes’, led by Accent Housing and with backing from the National Housing Federation, Chartered Institute of Housing and the Northern Housing Consortium, will raise funds to help support food banks meet the needs of an increasing volume of people experiencing hunger.
The trust are working not only to help people in the immediate crisis, but through the coming months by:
In the long term, the trust believes that no-one should have to rely on a food bank and will be campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
Our social purpose has never been clearer, nor has there been a more appropriate time for us to come together and support our residents and local communities in the fight against coronavirus.