Emergency Appeal

We urgently need to raise £125,000, to provide the vital help needed right now.

At Paperweight,  as the community’s citizens advice bureau, in ‘normal’ times we were dealing with over a thousand cases a year.

We co-ordinate more than 150 volunteers, providing a free service that would have added up to thousands of pounds per case in professional fees. In fact, we have calculated that every £1 donated to Paperweight generates the equivalent of £25 in the service provided.

And we know how life-transforming that service has been, providing vital support to people struggling with financial, legal and welfare and benefits issues. These are people (as in the story below) who are often at their wits’ end, squeezed by pressures on all sides.

The coronavirus has added a horrible new element, not only as a potentially deadly health hazard, but also for its devastating effect on people’s finances. As a result, our workload has hugely increased, while at the same time compromising our ability to fundraise.

We have only managed to get to this point because of the vision and generosity of people like you. As you’ll appreciate, your support is needed now more than ever. We urgently need to raise £125,000. This will give us the much-needed funds right now to meet the growth in demand, and give people the vital help they need at this time.

Thank you for your kindness and consideration.

Please make a donation now

Emergency Appeal

We get a phone call from Amy, a single mother with 5 children. We learn that Amy has metastatic cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Her husband, who is no longer living at home, has a history of substance abuse and violence towards Amy. The police have been called several times.

Money is extremely tight – no money is forthcoming from the husband – any income or benefits never reach her, she owes money to every service provider and has been living on friends' generosity. The fridge is almost bare. And with the schools being closed, she can't expect any help from their welfare officers.

They start by getting fast-track living arrangements with the Local Authority for the children. They also protect the family by enabling an interim restraining order to be served on the husband. Some relief of the financial pressures is achieved with debt freezes and/or realistic payment plan provisions across the board.

What's worse, Amy has contracted COVID-19, and has been hospitalised. The children have been hurriedly parcelled out to various friends, so this is the first issue that has to be dealt with.

The Caseworker, Claudia, immediately co-opts several colleagues to deal with the range of issues that Amy's case involves.
They go through the immense amount of work – persistent lengthy telephone calls, detailed emails and scanned bundles of documentation – all the time communicating with, and supporting, Amy. They help Amy re-apply for maximum Universal Credit and additional sums, redirecting these benefits to a new personal bank account that we help her set up. They also arrange for regular food delivery.

This all involved more than 40 hours' work, delivered by an army of volunteers. The cost of all this, if time had been charged at professional rates, would have been more than £2,500. Since we support over 1,000 clients every year, many of whom have even longer and more complicated stories, this amounts to a £2.5m saving to the community.

After a tough two weeks in hospital, Amy returned home. She says, "I now have the chance to recover from the virus and hopefully, the cancer too, free from the fears of how I would possibly pay my rent and bills, but worst of all whether I would be able to feed my children. I now have the confidence to manage my own finances and to budget well enough to run my own home. I don't want to begin to imagine where we would all be today without Paperweight.

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I don't want to begin to imagine where we would all be today without Paperweight.