What we're doing in Tower Hamlets
The CCS team is working with Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network (THCAN) to raise awareness of the Local Authority's Residents' Support Scheme (RSS). This work includes organising training and information sessions for staff from the Voluntary and Community Sector on accessing the RSS.
Island Advice coordinate the Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network (THCAN). The CCS programme is funding a part-time Referral and Triage post at Island Advice to manage incoming referrals via THCAN. This trial will last 6 months and potentially lead to wider work relating to referrals to advice agencies across the borough.
The CCS programme has had to adapt the plans and timeframes for the programme in all four pilot sights. Since March, we have worked with partners in all areas to ensure those who are supporting people facing financial crisis have the help they need. The programme has hosted regular video calls with local authority and VCS organizations in Tower Hamlets to establish how the programme can support local responses to the pandemic.
During the national lockdown, the CCS programme worked with the Mulberry School Trust to set up a food bank which connected to welfare advice services. This provision supported the school's most vulnerable families with food parcels, baby products and other household necessities. It also supported 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 families accessing the food bank can be referred to Island Advice who provide a call back service.
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.