Transforming West Cumbria, mid-term report 2023

PAGE 22 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 23 Phoenix Youth Project (PYP) has received three #CanDo grants which its members used to help the local community. PYP is based in Cleator Moor and runs youth clubs in the town as well as in Frizington, seeing 400 young people aged 8 to 19 each year. As well as providing a warm, safe and friendly place, PYP runs workshops on topics ranging from mental health to better communications, drugs and alcohol issues. PYP members also carry out social action projects. PYP’s recent project supported youngsters in Cleator Moor whose families are affected by the cost of living crisis. “We start by asking ‘who is in need in your community and how can we help them?’” says Paul Rowe, PYP Project Manager. “They said families need our help this year, and asked ‘if families have less money, what do kids need?’ A lot of food is already being donated through food banks, so they thought, kids need toys.” The young people used £400 from #CanDo to buy toys and a community support group matched the money. “They bought scooters and bikes, and back-to-school stuff like lunch bags, stationery and drink bottles,” said Paul. “We did hot dogs and drinks and about 100 members of the community came. “The young people helped with the food and making up the bikes and scooters, and they talked to the youngsters and handed the toys out. “The families couldn’t believe we were giving out free toys because, let’s face it, that doesn’t happen. It brought the community together.” The Frizington-based youth club members wanted to help people feeling isolated after the pandemic and staged a coffee morning at Lingla Café. “They called it a Fun Afternoon, and it was afternoon tea with a bit of free food and games,” said Paul. Twenty young people from Phoenix Youth Project helped and 60 people of all ages attended. “They really were proud of how it went. They got the shopping and made the cakes and dropped off leaflets to promote the afternoon. They set up a reception desk and organised raffle and tombola prizes which were donated by Cleator Moor Covid Support Group. “One elderly lady who attended said she hadn’t left her house apart from shopping since the start of Covid.” CASE STUDY: Phoenix Youth Project Frizington Phoenix Youth Project member shopping for banners for their community event The Frizington team who organised and ran afternoon tea with food and games for their community Financial Wellbeing is designed to improve the financial capability of West Cumbrians on low incomes. Delivered by Citizens Advice Copeland and Citizens Advice Allerdale, it aims to empower people to break cycles of debt. Two part-time Financial Wellbeing Officers provide one-to-one financial health checks, develop online tools to help people manage their money and promote financial wellbeing through community networks. Focusing on equipping people with the skills to manage their finances, the project does more than just solve immediate hardship issues. “What is different about the Financial Wellbeing project is that it is preventative. We provide empowerment and information to help people help themselves and stop getting to crisis point,” said a Citizens Advice team member. “Importantly the project helps to break down barriers to discuss personal financial issues.” Since Financial Wellbeing was launched in 2020 the pandemic and cost of living crisis have exacerbated financial hardship. Shelley Hewitson, CEO of Citizens Advice Copeland, said: “For those just about Started August 2020 Jobs funded: 2 part time financial wellbeing officers 394 people received direct advice More than 1,100 people benefitted as a result of this advice Clients helped with more than 1,487 issues including debt, utilities, food, fuel, income maximisation More than £239,260 secured in income gains, mostly as a result of people receiving benefits advice £1,680,614 of debt has been recorded Improving financial capability for individuals and families With financial hardship on the rise this scheme empowers people to take control, avoid crisis and break cycles of indebtedness as well as supporting families to thrive managing we have been offering financial support such as food and fuel vouchers. The complexity of cases we are dealing with continues to increase. This project acts as an introduction to our more specialist services.” An independent evaluation of Financial Wellbeing, undertaken by TCG Advisory, credits Citizens Advice’s ability to flex and adapt delivery to help people experiencing Financial Wellbeing See our video online