Our work in Tower Hamlets
The local CCS partnership includes voluntary sector emergency support and advice providers, and the Council's Tackling Poverty team. The CCS programme is working with Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network (THCAN) to raise awareness of the Local Authority's Residents' Support Scheme (RSS) and we have organised training and information sessions for staff from the Voluntary and Community Sector on accessing the RSS. Island Advice coordinate THCAN and the CCS programme funded a part-time referral and triage post at Island Advice to manage incoming referrals via the network. The 6-month trial led to wider work to simplify referral processes for advice agencies across the borough.
Our research project on crisis support in all four pilot areas was completed in April 2021. The project explored perceptions and experiences of crisis support among LA and VCS professionals, as well as service-users. Read the Tower Hamlets report in full here.
Year 1 of the pilot
Responding to Covid-19 has obviously dictated CCS programme work in all pilot sites in recent months. September 2020 marked the first year of the pilot in Tower Hamlets, and this felt like an appropriate time to bring local partners together to consider how the next phase of the programme should develop.
The main purpose of the Year 1 Partnership meeting was not to review the previous year but rather to look ahead. This short briefing note was shared with local partners beforehand and attendees were invited to sign the new Tower Hamlets CCS Partnership Charter which sets out the aims local partners are collectively working towards.
The CCS programme has had to adapt the plans and timeframes for the programme in all four pilot sights. Since March 2020, we have worked with partners in all areas to ensure those who are supporting people facing financial crisis have the help they need. The programme has hosted regular video calls with local authority and VCS organizations in Tower Hamlets to establish how the programme can support local responses to the pandemic.
During the national lockdown, the CCS programme worked with the Mulberry School Trust to set up a food bank which connected to welfare advice services. This provision supported the school's most vulnerable families with food parcels, baby products and other household necessities. It also supported families to access free school meal vouchers and NHS healthy start vouchers. The CCS programme has also supported Mulberry School to access other sources of funding and families accessing the food bank can be referred to Island Advice who provide a call back service.