‘We call them seagulls. Children wait around in the canteen, they go through the motions of attending lunch, but don’t have money or food for lunch. They wait around until the end and then take other pupils’ leftovers. We keep an eye out for pupils that are sharing food, then try to help them to access Free School Meals, but this takes time.’

A Chaplain at a Catholic Boys Secondary school in Westminster Diocese

As the cost of living continues to grow Caritas Westminster, on behalf of the diocese, is able to provide resources to parishes, schools and community groups responding to needs of people in their communities.

Caritas Westminster’s response – We are…

  • Continuing our Emergency Supermarket Voucher scheme. This started during the Pandemic  and has been widened and extended.
  • Encouraging parishes and schools to become Warm Spaces.
  • Providing expert advice and a supportive network for all involved in community outreach, through our Road to Resilience Programme and related training events.
  • Finding out the facts, and gathering the experiences of people, to help raise awareness and influence policy for social justice.
  • Supporting calls on the government to make urgent changes to the welfare and tax system

Warm Spaces and a Warm Welcome

Twenty parishes and three community projects created Warm Spaces in the winter of 2022-23. Here you can read how these spaces have brought communities together.

There are many ways in which a parish, or school or community centre can provide a warm welcome and a bit of support to struggling families and individuals this winter. These include:

  • Extend coffee after Mass.
  • Have a warm meal after the parents and toddlers’ group.
  • Provide a hot community meal, look at FoodCycle
  • Invite an energy saving expert in to speak
  • Open a branch of a credit union

Click here for a Word document containing many more ideas

A member of our Development Team will be able to help you develop any of these ideas – email Sr Silvana: silvanadallanegra@rcdow.org.uk. We’d also love to hear your own stories of how communities are coming together to support those affected by the rising cost of living.

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