The theme of the Guardian and Observer charity appeal 2022 is the cost of living crisis. We are partnering with two charities at the heart of the voluntary response to rising poverty and hardship in some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Their vital work delivers immediate crisis support and hope for the future.
A belief in the power of community – and its potential to transform lives and create a fairer society – underpins the work of Locality and its 1,600 members. They are grassroots local charities and social enterprises shaped and guided by the needs of the places where they operate and the people they serve.
The groups were often set up by local people to tackle big issues in their communities, such as poverty and unemployment, by drawing on local talent, enthusiasm and assets. They run neighbourhood hubs with cafes, social clubs, kitchens and gyms. They provide services from education and training to arts and health. They protect and rejuvenate much-loved spaces, from swimming pools and parks to community centres and town halls.
Locality’s chief executive, Tony Armstrong, said: “Members are unique because they support and champion places largely ignored by the market and abandoned by the retreating state, responding to local needs, providing services, and bringing people and communities together. They know intimately the areas they serve, the people who live there, and the challenges they face – and they are there for the long term to help local people find solutions and improve their local area.”
The organisations help bring in new investment, create jobs and train local people to unlock their potential. But increasingly, helping more and more local residents deal with the cost of living crisis has become the overwhelming focus of Locality members, including setting up or expanding food banks and food pantries; providing warm rooms, fuel vouchers and benefits advice; and running mental health and wellbeing projects.
Many are now facing serious financial pressures themselves. High inflation and soaring energy costs are depleting their resources and putting services at risk. Locality’s share of the money raised by Guardian and Observer readers will – through a series of grants – help scores of these vital organisations continue to provide the support their local communities desperately need.
The Citizens Advice network of more than 250 local charities are at the centre of their communities, providing free, confidential advice to families and individuals struggling with the shock, pain and uncertainty of rising living costs and job insecurity.
As the cost of living crisis has deepened, Citizens Advice has experienced unprecedented demand for its services, from distraught young families wondering how they will pay the bills, to people unable to afford to heat their homes, and isolated older people struggling to cope.
“The situation for people is getting worse daily,” said Dame Clare Moriarty, the chief executive of Citizens Advice. “More and more people are being pushed beyond their limits, and the long-lasting consequences of the cost of living crisis won’t be easy to fix. We know how much courage it takes to ask for help and it’s vital that our services can give people the urgent support they need to face the challenges ahead.”
Citizens Advice’s share of donations from the Guardian and Observer appeal will help fund its core advice services across the UK. These include innovative outreach projects tailored to the needs of local communities, with many operating in some of the most economically deprived areas of the UK.
“We’re currently helping two people every minute with crisis support and our expert, independent and confidential advice is needed now more than ever,” said Moriarty. “We want to make sure that nobody has to face this crisis alone.”
Donations can be made online by credit card, debit card or PayPal, or by phone on 0151 284 1126. We are unable to accept cheques.