Havering Helps: One Year On

Published: Monday, 22 March 2021

Havering Council’s Emergency Assistance Scheme, run by the charity DABD, on the Council’s behalf, has given over £500,000 in grants to local people since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Back at the beginning of the pandemic, Havering Council launched ‘Havering Helps’, a package of financial measures worth nearly £4.5m to support residents, businesses and care providers in the borough through the pandemic.

A year on, as better days are ahead with the vaccination programme and the incidence rates continuing to fall in the borough, we are taking the opportunity to pause and reflect on the efforts that have been made to support our most vulnerable residents through this most challenging of times.

We spoke with the team there to review how this past year has gone, and the types of people they have been speaking to and supporting.

Ashlyn Dale is one of the DABD administrators who has been working for the past year to support our residents in need. She said:

“During the two weeks leading up to Christmas (11 to 25 December 2020), we had 395 applications requesting assistance from Havering residents.

“By comparison, only 9 applications were received during that same two-week period in 2019. 317 of these applications were awarded assistance. That is an 80 per cent award rate.

“The recurrent theme of these applications was people struggling to cover their expenses and we have awarded almost £75k worth of assistance in those two weeks before Christmas alone. 

“The total number of applications received since April 2020 (till end January 2021) has been 6028.

"4462 were awarded assistance, and total support to date for just those ten months falls is valued at just over £561,000.”

Some of the Havering residents that Emergency Assistance Scheme have been able to help include a resident who had just moved into shared accommodation having previously been homeless for several years and needed help to buy food.

Most requests relate to help with the costs for food, the purchase of furniture or essential white goods like a cooker or fridge and support to help cover the cost of utility bills.

Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“No one expected the pandemic and the disruption and pain its caused, but I am extremely proud of the way the Council, our staff, partner organisations and volunteers initially responded back in March, and continue to ensure that no resident is left behind.

“The announcement of the series of financial measures that were quickly put in place in March 2020 has offered support and reassurance to many in a time of great need and uncertainty.

“The Council continues to make sure this support remains in place to help residents that need it. Look out for some of the inspirational stories from our community we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.”

If you are in a similar situation and need help, please visit our money advice and benefits emergency help page