As Winter approaches, St Vincent De Paul Society launches £500,000 Cost of Living Support Fund

The St Vincent De Paul Society (SVP), has launched a £500,000 Cost of Living Support Fund to help struggling families and individuals who need support as the cost of living crisis deepens this winter, threatening millions with poverty.

The fund has been created in response to the UK’s worsening economic crisis which threatens to impact millions of households in the UK. Over the last six months, the number of people requesting help and visiting St Vincent’s community centres has almost doubled.

As well as encouraging people to give to the fund, the SVP also intends to press the government to increase benefits and deliver on its levelling-up agenda. The long-term vision is to open up support centres in every diocese.

“The SVP is launching this £500,000 cost-of-living support fund because we think this will be a period of unprecedented hardship”, says CEO Elizabeth Palmer. “During the past 12 months we have supported over 100,000 people in communities across England and Wales. We know that the number of people coming to us for help will increase,” Elizabeth said.

Money from the fund will be made available to support people who are struggling to stay afloat amid rising food prices, high fuel tariffs and increasing inflation. Applications to access the Fund will go through the SVP’s 8,500 parish-based members who work in local SVP conferences across England and Wales.

John, a single father of two, who is struggling with bills, food costs and buying clothes for his children, says he was overwhelmed at the help provided by his local SVP group.

John said: “A very kind gentleman from my local SVP group visited me and I talked to him about how I was struggling with my rapidly rising bills.”

“He was so helpful and I’d like to send my heartfelt gratitude to the SVP.”

The St Vincent de Paul Society (England & Wales) is part of an international Catholic voluntary network dedicated to tackling poverty in all its forms by providing practical assistance to people in need. Founded in Britain in 1844, members, motivated by faith, visit vulnerable or isolated people across England and Wales and offer them friendship and practical support.

There are nine St Vincent’s centres across England and Wales in Ely, West Yorkshire (Bradford and Leeds), Sheffield, Newcastle, Wirral, Brighton, London (Brixton) and Southend-On-Sea. These community hubs can offer a range of local bespoke services such as food clubs, hot meals, homeless support, ESOL classes, counselling and housing and benefits advice.

As part of the Cost of Living Support Fund a public appeal is also being launched to give people the opportunity to show their support and donate. SVP is inviting those who have received a winter fuel payment that they don’t need to donate it to the Cost of Living Support Fund to help struggling households and individuals to cope this winter.

SVP National President Helen O’Shea adds: “If you know of someone in your community who needs support from the Cost of Living Support Fund, or you are interested in forming your own SVP group or becoming a Vincentian volunteer, please contact our membership team who will be able to help, and who will also put you in touch with your local SVP group.”