Press Release: The Removal of Universal Uplift will see more people seeking the assistance of Acts 435
Press Release - for immediate release
30th September 2021
The removal of the Universal Credit Uplift will see more people seeking the assistance of charities, such as Acts 435, who can help them to plug the gap.
The removal of the Universal Credit uplift will remove a bridge that has been plugging a gap in peoples’ finances for the last 18 months. However, the removal of £20 a week from the budgets of hundreds of thousands of Universal Credit recipients will again increase the need for the work of charities, such as Acts 435, who step into this gap during a financial crisis.
Acts 435 is an online giving charity that connects those who want to help with those that have a specific need such as a cooker, a bus pass or clothes for a job interview. The charity partners with over 600 local churches and charities around the UK to see these needs met, many of whom are already finding the increased need for help challenging.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic Acts 435 saw a sharp increase in need with over 60% more requests for help being posted onto their website. Thankfully during this period those who were able to donate continued to give generously, and the charity saw requests met in as little as a day. However, the charity itself sees that the need will continue to rise as the uplift ends next week; for many seeking help through Acts 435 the £20 per week (£86 per month) may mean that they can’t take public transport to a hospital appointment, buy new clothes for a job interview, or replace a broken appliance. It may mean, as fuel prices increase, that many families will be left with the decision to choose between heating their home or putting food on the table.
Jenny Herrera, Executive Director of Acts 435, said: “The impact the removal of the uplift will have on peoples’ finances, especially as we head into the colder months, will be detrimental. It will mean individuals and families going without basic necessities and ending up in a financial crisis as they struggle to afford even their everyday living costs, never mind unexpected costs such as repairing a car, travelling to essential appointments or increases in bills.”
Acts 435 is thankful to be able to help families and individuals who are in this exact situation, and to give them a hand-up when they’re in a crisis situation or facing hardship. Pru Cahill, a Methodist Minister who runs a drop-in cafe in Manchester is an Acts 435 volunteer who is able to post requests on behalf of those she meets. Each week she meets M, who is a grandmother and has a regular cleaning job, which she has maintained throughout the pandemic. M is unsure how she will pay her rent each week after the uplift is taken away, and as it is clear, even with a job, that she is often living hand to mouth and supporting her daughter and grandchildren too.
Andrew Sykes, another Acts 435 volunteer, runs Noah’s Ark, a charity in Halifax. He sees the impact that financial crisis can have on those he meets and he says that there is going to be a further “significant impact on mental health” for those who will see their income decrease, as bills and living costs continue to increase. In the Calderdale area alone he suggests that 22,000 people will be affected by the change in Universal Credit, and that he expects to see a bigger uptake on food parcels, as well as those in financial crisis as they are too anxious to ask for help quickly.
Acts 435 is a national charity, but with a local perspective on the issues that are affecting those that seek their help. Take a look at their website to read stories of those affected, and give towards their specific need: www.acts435.org.uk
Katie Greene, Partnerships Director