Older people’s charity Independent Age has today announced the 50 community organisations that will receive funding through its £2 million emergency cost of living grants fund. The new funding comes amid a worsening cost of living crisis. 2.1 million older people are already living in poverty, and rising bills risk pushing more older people into hardship.

The 50 community-based charities to be funded by Independent Age offer a range of support to people in financial hardship, from help with housing issues to advice on cutting energy bills. They include a money advice centre in Nottingham, an older people’s forum distributing grants to local groups in Leeds, and a financial support service targeted at African, Caribbean, and South Asian communities in Manchester.

Each of the 50 organisations will receive £40,000 to help them build their capacity to get more money into the pockets of people in later life. All of the charities work directly with older people to help those struggling with the cost of living and ensure they are not forced to choose between heating their home or eating a meal.

For a full list of the organisations, see here.

The St Ann’s Advice Centre in Nottingham is dedicated to giving older people advice on debt, welfare benefits and employment. The funding will allow them to employ a dedicated money advice officer who will give one-to-one help and support to older people in Nottingham in financial hardship. Their focus will be on preventing people from falling into poverty through ensuring they are receiving their full entitlement of state benefits and welfare help, as well as providing advice on debts and energy efficiency issues.

St Ann’s also runs an independent foodbank, and helps older people in need with access to energy fuel vouchers and a range of other activities such as IT suites, a community cafe and social spaces.

Ant Giles, Trustee of St Ann’s Advice Group, said:

“Over the last few months, we have seen an increasing number of older people in need of our services as the cost of living tightens its grip on the most vulnerable. With winter approaching, we know more older people in Nottingham will be struggling to make ends meet, and in desperate need of money advice and practical help. The funds from Independent Age will have a huge impact, allowing us to support even more people in later life, at a time when they are in urgent need.”

Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Independent Age, said:

“People in later life are facing a winter of despair as food and energy prices push even more into financial hardship. Our emergency cost of living grants are designed to help older people across the UK at serious risk of poverty. The community-based charities we have funded through the programme are ideally placed to provide much needed practical support directly to those in need.”

“We’re deeply aware that although our emergency grant funding will go some way to lessening the impact of the rising cost of living for some of the nation’s most at-risk older people, the scale of the challenge ahead is monumental. When we launched the fund we were flooded with requests for support, highlighting the scale of the problem. We were very grateful that Pension Insurance Corporation have match funded the programme, allowing us to reach many more people in need.”

The urgency of the need for further support is demonstrated by YouGov polling commissioned by Independent Age, which shows that nearly half (48%) of people above the age of 65 in England could not afford a £50 per month increase in their cost of living.

Similarly, just under half (44%) of people above the age of 65 are anxious about their finances at the moment, driven by the rising energy bills and cost of grocery shopping among other everyday challenges. More older people are being pushed into poverty and are fearful of how to cope towards the end of this year, leading Independent Age to call for further aid.

The Cost of living Grants Fund has been match-funded with a £1 million donation from Pension Insurance Corporation (‘PIC’) a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension schemes. Thanks to the additional funding from PIC, Independent Age has been able to double the size of the fund to £2 million meaning the charity is now providing grants to 50 charities and community organisations. PIC has also provided £500,000 to fund six new advisor roles in Independent Age’s National Services Team.

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