On Monday 14th July, Lambeth Citizens and Lambeth Council joined forces to launch their Financial Resilience Strategy for the borough.
At a launch event in Lambeth Town Hall, Lambeth Citizens leaders spoke about their campaign to tackle the spread of pay day loan shops and civil society's role in reducing poverty.
There were also speeches from Cllr Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council and Lucky Chandrasekera, Chief Executive of London Mutual Credit Union.
The strategy, produced by the Council in partnership with community stakeholders, including Lambeth Citizens, aims to improve the financial situation of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
The strategy focuses on eight key areas, including increasing the number of Living Wage employers, strengthening Credit Unions and tackling the rise in problematic debt caused by payday loans. These strategic outcomes are based on extensive work to understand the financial problems of Lambeth residents, including a six-month community Listening Campaign by Lambeth Citizens.
Listening Campaigns see local leaders in community institutions, such as churches and schools; carry out one-to-one conversations and group discussions to understand the real concerns of their friends and neighbours. In Lambeth, low pay and debt were issues raised again and again.
Rabbi Janet Darley of South London Liberal Synagogue said:
"In Lambeth, our Listening Campaigns have highlighted the reality that hundreds of people are living with insurmountable financial problems due to problematic debt. The impact of these problems is felt by people at all stages of life, from all backgrounds and in all situations. We are on the front line of these problems; we are the first to hear the stories and the first to feel the impact. We provide daily pastoral and financial support to those in desperate need because we have the relationships which make this possible."
Tom Chigbo, Citizens UK Community Organiser, said:
“The Financial Resilience Strategy is the culmination of months of work to listen to and understand the financial problems faced by Lambeth residents. It’s great to now be working alongside Lambeth Council and other organisations on a range of projects to tackle these problems. Together we will be co-hosting an employer event to explain the benefits of the Living Wage to Lambeth based businesses, which we hope will see a number of businesses commit to implementing the Living Wage.”
Barbara Wilson, co-Chair of Lambeth Citizens, said:
“Community leaders from across Lambeth have contributed towards this strategy and we are looking forward to working with the Council to deliver its outcomes. Civil society organisations are at the front line of these problems, providing daily pastoral and financial support for thousands of people in Lambeth. By working together, our collective efforts are stronger.”
The launch marks a commitment from Lambeth Council,and civil society to work together on a range of activities to support residents of the borough to escape debt and poverty. Both are looking forward to building on this relationship by working together on this and other issues.
The Lambeth Financial Resilience Strategy has 8 strategic outcomes:
- More people earning the London Living Wage
- More people with access to the financial products they need
- A reduction in problematic debt
- More people getting the benefits and credits that they are entitled to
- More people can manage their money on-line
- More people feel able to manage their finances and cope with unexpected financial outlays
- A reduction in fuel poverty
- A reduction in food poverty