Ely challenges poverty – Monday

Poverty A photo of Cardiff's civic centre
Photo by Taylor Floyd Mews on Unsplash
ViewsOctober 11th, 2021

Each day in Challenge Poverty Week, Nerys Sheehan from Action in Caerau and Ely describes her day at the Dusty Forge Community Centre. Here are her reflections on Monday.

Monday morning is always busy. My appointments were all fully booked and our receptionist Sharon was already taking calls from people from 9:00am who too were seeking support. These are initial appointments to practically help those in food/fuel crisis and for me to identify what further support I can offer to help them not only overcome the crisis but also to ensure they are of less risk of experiencing crisis in the future. The service has always been in demand and the need in the community is greater than ever due to the increase food and fuel costs alongside the removal of the £20.00 Universal Credit uplift, this affects every UC claimant including working households.

Once I had finished this I had some urgent casework. I needed to appeal a benefit decision for a lady who despite having a progressive illness that has deteriorated significantly, a recent PIP review meant that she was at risk of losing a component of her disability benefits. If this decision is upheld she will lose a vital mobility aid that helps her get around safely and retain her independence. I then finished an application for Attendance Allowance for a chap with chronic arthritis that could use some additional support and someone to help look after him. Our local Councillor called in and said that he too was seeing an increased number of constituents contacting him for urgent crisis support.

Sam, Becki and I then discussed some food projects we would like to develop and planned a project that enables children to cook alongside their parents, learning new skills together and doing so on a budget. We all said that we feel less able to spend time in the kitchen with our children due to pressures of the working day and that often when we get home we are juggling cooking along with typical night time routine and planning for the day ahead. As Becki always says “spinning so many plates”. We would like to provide this opportunity for families. This project is in its early planning stages so please do keep an eye out for upcoming details.

Tomorrow I have lots of planning to do, more casework and some refresher training with the Welsh Water team to support households access the vulnerable customer tariffs.

The Dusty is a vibrant centre with lots of activity and projects happening daily. This is a very small part of what we do in the community. We are here to help and really want to try and engage with those who would benefit from some practical support in these uncertain times.

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