What we're doing in Tower Hamlets
Local advice and support organisations in Tower Hamlets highlighted that there were opportunities in schools to reach families who might not otherwise engage with support services. The Cordinated Comunity Support programme will use its funding and resources to facilitate school engagement work offering housing, welfare rights, debt and crisis support in four schools across the borough. Agencies involved in drafting the implementation plan include Citizen’s Advice, First Love Foundation, Legal Advice Centre and Toynbee Hall.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis the CCS programme has supported the Mulberry School Trust in Tower Hamlets to set up a food bank with linked welfare advice services. This provision supports approximately 320 of the school most vulnerable families with food parcels, baby products and other household necessities. It also supports families to access free school meal vouchers and NHS healthy start vouchers. The CCS programme has also supported Mulberry School to access other sources of funding, and to link up with local welfare advice organisations. Currently families accessing the food bank can be referred to Island Advice who provide a call back service.
As a result of the ongoing situation with Covid-19 we have had to change and adapt the plans and timeframes for the programme in the pilot sights. However, in the immediacy we are working in these areas to ensure those who are supporting people facing financial crisis have the help they need:
The Coordinated Crisis Response Since March the Cordinated Crisis Support programme has hosted regular video calls with local authority and VCS organizations in each pilot area to establish how the CCS programme can support local responses to Covid-19.
In Tower Hamlets the Cordinated Community Support programme is supporting the Mulberry School Trust in Tower Hamlets to set up a food bank with linked welfare and employment advice service. This provision will support vulnerable families that are at risk of sever financial hardship due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Year 1 of the pilot
Responding to Covid-19 has obviously dictated CCS programme work in all pilot sites in recent months. September 2020 marked the first year of the pilot in Tower Hamlets, and this felt like an appropriate time to bring local partners together to consider how the next phase of the programme should develop.
The main purpose of the Year 1 Partnership meeting was not to review the previous year but rather to look ahead. This short briefing note was shared with local partners beforehand and attendees were invited to sign the new Tower Hamlets CCS Partnership Charter which sets out the aims local partners are collectively working towards.