To Eat or To Heat?

William Lee

As energy bills and the cost of living are sky-rocketing across the UK and Ireland, it is a truth universally acknowledged that it will be the most vulnerable members of our society who suffer the most. For single-parent families, the disabled, the out-of-work, the asylum-seekers, the homeless and deprived communities caught in generational poverty, the following cuts and financial pressures mean that for many, it’s a choice between eating and heating:

  • Inflation reached 10.1% in July and is forecast to reach 13% later this year (Bank of England) and possibly 18% in January 2023 (Citi Bank)
  • Real-Term Cuts of the National Living Wage when compared with the rise in living costs
  • OFGEM announced the energy price cap will increase by a massive 80% on 1 October increasing average household bills to over £3,500
  • Council Tax rise of around 3.5%
  • A freeze on the income-tax threshold resulting in a cut in take-home earnings.
  • 10% Increase in National Insurance, affecting the lowest earners the most
  • Lateral Flow Tests are no longer free.

Statistics courtesy of The Big Issue & Mission in a Pandemic (CARU)

What is Church Army doing about it?

Church Army has the privilege of living out its missional calling amongst some of the most deprived neighbourhoods of these islands. On the ground where they serve, our evangelists have seen the fault lines evident before pandemic widening and growing more destructive as the weeks and months have passed. Yet in the midst of that suffering, theirs is also a story of seeing God at work, reconciling the world to himself in love. – Peter Rouch, Church Army CEO

Recently, Church Army projects provided 23,800 food parcels to deprived families, households and individuals, with a further 1,500 essential items such as furniture, clothing, hygiene products and baby items given to those in need. On one of the most deprived estates in the UK found in Middlesbrough, Church Army Evangelist Jane Emson set up an Eco Shop and tirelessly delivered food parcels and activity packs for children across the Brambles Farm Estate in which she was nominated by the Mayor of Middlesbrough for a COVID Hero Award. Our staff on the ground are providing emergency housing for homeless women in London, providing pioneering community food initiatives in Wales, and giving homeless young people a place to stay and the skills to maintain their own tenancy. They are building emotional resilience through Community Garden Projects in Belfast, even trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp to raise money so we can support more people in desperate situations.

Would you partner with Church Army through this desperate time? Every time you give to Church Army, you’re making a difference in the lives of the homeless, the single parent too proud to ask for help but who actually really needs it, the family struggling to make ends meet and the young person experiencing self-harm; it’s all making a huge difference.

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