We want to be church that radically loves the city and one another by following the ways of Jesus. We want loneliness, injustice, and poverty to be eradicated, and distress to be substantially reduced. We want people to discover freedom from life’s pressures such as addictions, debt, and mental distress; friendship, support and belonging through community and ‘around the table’ hospitality; and fulfilment as they find their God-given purpose and identity.
To help us learn more about the realities of the crisis, we have created a Summer Care Challenge. You are invited to ‘spin the wheel’ and land on one of the following six challenges, which you could do for a week or a month – it’s up to you! Spinning the wheel is more than just a bit of fun; it is also a reminder that the luck of where you are born and what family you are born into has a great impact on your opportunities and ability to break the cycle of poverty. We hope that through these challenges you can experience a small glimpse of what it is like to be facing the worst effects of the cost-of-living crisis. We encourage you to pray about your challenge each day and talk about these different experiences in your communities over the Summer.
So why not click to spin the wheel and then read below for more details on each of the challenges.
For this challenge we are asking you not to use your own car or pay for public transport for a week. With the rising cost of fuel, now more than ever people are struggling to be able to afford to use cars or public transport. How much would it impact your life to give up these means of transportation?
A recent CAP (Christians Against Poverty) client worked shifts and his only way to get to work was by car. However, with rising fuel costs he had no money to put petrol in his car to get to and from work. When he last spoke to one of the CAP team, he was distraught as his only choice was to sleep in his car near work between shifts.
In 2019, the number of households in fuel poverty in Scotland was 24.6% or 613,000 households. (Energy Action Scotland) This is the most recent data but we can expect that this percentage will have increased dramatically in 2022.
For this challenge we are asking you to live on £8.55 for your food and household items for a week. This figure comes from the real experience of one household and whilst it might sound extreme, the need for this kind of budgeting is not uncommon, especially for those trying to get out of debt. You will have to think about where you shop and what kind of meals you can afford to make.
“…the reality we’re facing for households on the lowest incomes is what we would describe as ‘deficit budgets’, one we have worked with individuals to clear their debts we would provide them with what we would describe as a ‘debt free budget’ to help people to manage their income and stay debt free. An example of this is a single adult household in Ayrshire that we are working with and very nearly at the point of insolvency through a MAP (Minimal Asset Process). Their sole income is through social security. They have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and as we’re building a budget for this individual as they go debt free, they have £8.55 per week for food and household items, that’s actually £1.22 a day”
(CAP Scotland Director, Emma Jackson, sharing her views at the Social Justice and Social Security Committee at Scottish Government.)
Our CAP team recently also spoke to a mother who had been eating only porridge for days so that she could feed her children.
For this challenge we are asking you to live without any electricity and/or gas for a week. If you need to make adjustments to this for work, think about how you can do that in ways that stick as true to the challenge as possible – for example could you use a public library or café instead to charge devices? What would it look like for you to go without power?
A lady came into the Clothesbank recently looking for fleeces and a coat to wear in the house as she can’t afford to put the heating on. Living without power, both gas and electric is very common in Edinburgh. A CAP client from this centre recently needed to make an important phone call, but he had no power in his flat to charge his phone. He had to charge it in a volunteer’s car so that he could make the call.
‘Inflation hit 9% in April. Because so much of the increase was driven by the increase in the gas and electricity tariff cap, poorer households who spend more of their budgets on gas and electricity faced an even higher rate of inflation. We estimate that the poorest 10% of households faced an inflation rate of 10.9%. State benefits only increased by 3.1% in April. This means big real terms cuts.’
Institute for Fiscal Studies
For this challenge we are asking you not to use your oven for the week. You will need to use a kettle and a microwave as your main ways of preparing food. Many people struggle not just with being able to afford food but also with having the facilities to cook food. During the summer this is particularly challenging for families when children aren’t receiving free hot meals at school.
A lot of the people who come along to our weekly Soul Food meals have no permanent address, so they are living in Airbnb’s or hostels without access to a kitchen. Others struggle to afford fresh ingredients to make some of the meals that we can offer at Soul Food. Soul Food is a lifeline for people to be able to have hot meals.
‘Led by the third sector, partners across the city provided 45,864 meals as food parcels during the first half of 2021.’
Edinburgh Poverty Commission
For this challenge we are asking you to wear one outfit for a week (we’ll allow a change of underwear!). Even if it gets dirty or doesn’t suit the occasion, you’ll need to keep the same outfit! If you want to do this for longer, then you could wear one outfit per week over a month.
Recently, a pregnant woman visited Clothesbank and said that she would have had nothing for her baby to wear when it was born without her visit to Clothesbank. A Clothesbank volunteer also described some of the Ukrainian refugees that are coming in bowing down in gratitude to the volunteers for the clothes they received.
The number of items that the Clothesbank gave away dramatically increased in the months of April and May, with the number of items we give away per month doubling.
For this challenge we are asking you to give up your social plans for the week. We are fortunate if we have people around us, we can meet up with and be honest and vulnerable as not everyone has safe spaces or people to turn to. So, this challenge seeks to raise awareness of the importance of our counselling ministry and potential future Parish Nursing role.
Regularly at Soul Food we are asked about our counselling services and experiences of isolation are common amongst our Soul Food guests and CAP clients, which takes its toll on mental health. A man who regularly attends Counselling and Soul Food had been in hospital recently with uncontrolled diabetes and nearly died. The Parish Nurse could support the man after discharge to support recovery and be a trusted person to whom to be accountable for lifestyle changes in relation to diet and medication.
‘It has long been known that loneliness and social isolation have detrimental effects on our health, with outcomes comparable to smoking, obesity and high blood pressure… 1/10 people in Scotland report feeling lonely often.’
Edinburgh Poverty Commission
There are two more ways that you can help us meet the needs of our city at the moment.
Volunteer with one of our Care ministries – Soul Food, CAP, Clothesbank & the Cafe. We would love more volunteers. Get in touch via the button below.
We are reliant on your generosity to continue the services that we offer. This year we have increased our provision as there has been real need, and we’d love to do more. You can give a one-off gift via the button below, or get in touch with the Finance Team to set up regular giving.