This definition is taken from the recently published report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, UK Poverty 2020/21 | JRF. It was interesting to hear more about this report from Joseph Elliott, speaking at the ACO grant making forum this month, The Association of Charitable Organisations (aco.uk.net). As Senior Analyst, Housing, Evidence and Impact, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), it is his job to make sense of data, collected via a Grassroots Poverty Action Group, on what the main issues facing those in our society who have the least income. The significance of this group is that it is comprised of those who actually know what the true impact is; all have lived experience of what it means to be in poverty.
Older people, including those who have retired from work, have been sheltered from the worst of the cost of living rises due to the increases in the State Pension in particular. That picture is now changing with lower pension income in real terms and as costs of living are rising for everyone. We encourage any dance professional, who is now in receipt of their pension but facing financial hardship, to get in contact with us. We may be able to help with either a grant towards living costs or for instance help with essential household items.
For many years we have for used the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Minimum Income Standards (MIS) levels to help us give those in need of our help the right support. The benefit of the MIS is that it means that we make an accurate and objective assessment of your situation, with the aim of providing you with the most helpful support. Things like heating bills, which will vary from household to household, are another thing that we are all aware will take up more of everyone’s income, including low earners. There is some help with this via the Government’s Warm Home Discount Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Joseph Elliott quotes this finding from the ONS Wealth and Assets Survey,
‘One in three low income households have less than £250 in savings currently’.
Savings are a big issue for many. Unless you can get support with your cash flow from another source, if you have no or very little savings, the alternative is very often to take out loans. These loans often carry a very high repayment premium. A new savings scheme to help low earners has recently been launched, (https://www.gov.uk/get-help-savings-low-income/how-to-apply).
As well as our grants provision to help those who are struggling financially, we provide information on other sources of support. We always encourage people to look at that too, on our website, if it could be helpful. https://www.dancefund.org.uk/advice-and-services/