Citizens Advice and The Trussell Trust - Help through Hardship helpline
It was a time of crisis for many, particularly those in the most vulnerable situations. Community services, advice agencies and GP surgeries were closing their doors. Where services were open, social distancing and self-isolation made face-to-face access difficult. The urgent situation required a rapid national response. The Trussell Trust partnered with Citizens Advice, bringing the largest network of food banks together with the largest provider of free advice in the UK. Within weeks, the Help through Hardship helpline was launched. Initially it was about providing emergency food bank referrals, but right from the beginning there was a bigger vision. Today, the helpline handles over 3,000 calls a week. It provides personalised support to help maximise the income of people in poverty and address the underlying causes of their hardship, empowering them to avoid financial crisis in the future. 120 advisers on the helpline have unlocked over £28m in estimated financial gains for callers through accessing their full benefit entitlement. Recognising the link between poverty and mental health, Mind have recently joined the partnership to help us tackle them both. Together, we’re helping people find a way forward.