During the Covid-19 pandemic Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) worked in partnership with other organisations with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of their tenants and the wider community.
In 2020/21 BHA’s Financial Inclusion team received a total of 435 referrals and as a result of the team’s intervention, annual benefit gains amounting to £1,004,805.39 were achieved from 272 separate benefit claims.
BHA’s Financial Inclusion Team has also been working with Eyemouth Community Council to access support for struggling families during the pandemic. The Community Council was successful with an application to the Radio Borders Cash for Kids ‘Warm and Well’ funding scheme and they approached BHA for assistance in identifying families on Universal Credit or with children receiving free school meals who would qualify to receive £100 per child.
Marion Rayner, BHA’s Senior Financial Inclusion Officer, explained: “The successful application initially benefitted 29 children from 17 households who were awarded £100 cash per child. As there was a tight deadline for the first round of applications which limited the number of beneficiaries, Eyemouth Community Council worked with BHA to identify more beneficiaries and another 103 children from 43 households were supported. This additional income has made such a difference to the families involved.”
A total of £9,900 was distributed across Berwickshire with 76% of recipients being BHA tenants. Of these, 85% were self-employed or working single parents who struggled as a direct consequence of lockdown and 15% were families who struggled to get benefits and were unemployed.
More tenants were offered additional support and directed to other projects for example Eyemouth Community Fridge and Reston and Auchencrow Community Larder.
BHA have also supported the Ayton Resilience Group to identify people in the Ayton area who would benefit from a hamper donated by local businesses.
Through the One Parent Families Scotland Emergency Energy Fund, where third sector and statutory organisations could sponsor single parents to apply for £50 for help with their energy costs, BHA were able to identify and make applications for 21 one parent families during the period the grant was open.
Working with Link of Eyemouth, Splash and the Eyemouth Rotary Club a total of 22 Christmas hampers were delivered to some of BHA’s vulnerable tenants and BHA Financial Inclusion Advisers also oversaw the delivery of Christmas toys from Mission Christmas for 10 families with a total of 14 children.
All in all, these are great examples of BHA working in partnership with other organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.