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Hackney Foodbank’s Financial Inclusion Project with Fair Money Advice

14th March 2022

Hackney Foodbank’s mission is to support people who are in crisis or trapped in poverty with compassion and dignity. We do this by providing emergency food parcels, which offer practical, immediate relief in moments of crisis, and by connecting people with local organisations who can help them to address the root causes and wider effects of poverty in their lives. We believe in a hunger-free Hackney where everyone can afford to eat.

Hackney Foodbank and Fair Money Advice, as part of the Financial Inclusion project funded by the Trussell Trust, have been working together since 23 November 2021 with people in Hackney experiencing financial hardship. Since 23 November 2021, Hackney Foodbank has given out more than 2000 vouchers, with 81% of those vouchers (1635) going to people who cited ‘Low Income, Debt, Benefit Delays, or Benefit Changes’ as the leading cause of their crisis. Fair Money advice has provided support on money management and budgeting advice, building financial resilience, income maximisation (including benefits), and in some cases debt relief.

In one case, Fair Money Advice supported John* who had multiple debts he couldn’t afford to pay because his income was not sufficient to cover the monthly payments. He was very stressed at his initial appointment because of the debts. He felt that no one was able to help him. As part of their support, Fair Money Advice provided the person in need with several vouchers for parcels of food from Hackney Foodbank, relieving his immediate hunger.

Through several appointments, the Advisor from Fair Money Advice reviewed John’s initial collection of documents, contacted his creditors to obtain more details on his case, guided him through the process of gathering all the necessary information, and discussed a Debt Relief Order (DRO). Once John understood the implications of the DRO and agreed to proceed with it, the Advisor applied for the DRO and was successful in freeing John from £10,909.35 in total debt.

John was very relieved. Due to the intervention from Fair Money Advice and the support from Hackney Foodbank, John is now able to live and travel without the feeling of stress. This has also increased his feelings of hope for the future.

As part of our efforts to improve the connections between people in crisis and relevant support organisations through signposting, Hackney Foodbank and Fair Money Advice are developing an innovative online signposting portal. The aim of this ‘diagnostic tool’ is to streamline and formalise the signposting activities at Hackney Foodbank venues, creating a ‘warm referral’ process connecting people in crisis directly to participating and to relevant Referral Agency Partners, and allowing Hackney Foodbank the ability to track the impact of its signposting activities.

*John’s real name has been changed to protect his identity.

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