Column: Pandemic has hit people’s finances, but help is at hand
Covid has hit people in different ways. For some it’s had a devastating affect on their employment or income, for others it’s been their physical or mental health, writes Beverley Parker, chief executive officer at Rural Action Derbyshire.
But we know that more people than ever have money worries.
The British Red Cross has been exploring people’s needs throughout the pandemic. Some key findings are: more people are struggling financially, and in some cases, unable to access essentials such as food.
In addition, more people are struggling with their mental health and loneliness, reducing their ability to cope.
The pandemic has made inequality worse and pushed new people into hardship.
All of this is backed up by our own experiences working with voluntary groups and communities across Derbyshire during the past 18 months. Food bank use is currently more than double the levels experienced before the pandemic.
Many people will experience continued hardship following the removal of the benefits temporary uplift and rising costs of food and energy.
Families who were just about managing before the pandemic are finding themselves in financial difficulty.
Living in rural Derbyshire brings additional challenges that we at Rural Action Derbyshire know only too well.
It costs more to live in a rural area.
People spend more of their income on essential items such as food, housing, transport and energy, meaning that often there simply isn’t enough money left at the end of the month.
But there is support available.
For information you can go to www.ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk and look for ‘Financial Action’ and ‘Advice Derbyshire’.
Here are our top tips for anyone finding it hard to make ends meet: Don’t panic, you are not alone. Act now if you have debts.
Citizens Advice offers free debt and money advice. Make sure you are receiving any benefits you are entitled to.
Write down a monthly budget so that you can work out where you might be able to make savings.
Make sure you’re not wasting energy by blocking up draughts, turning off lights and switching off unused appliances.
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