Cost of Living Increase Collaborative Working Group (COLIn), and Trellis (MHA’s Fund that provides holistic financial support when it’s needed).
MHA’s COLIn group was created in November 2021 and comprises staff across the Group with a wide range of expertise and knowledge, who come together bi-monthly to brainstorm ideas and manage resources, projects and activity to support tenants to manage their increased costs in a number of ways.
MHA’s staff volunteering scheme supports community partnership activity, as well as wellbeing calls, creating support packs and coordinating Christmas toy appeals.
Below is a summary of some of the main activity to date…
For tenant’s homes:
- Energy saving lightbulbs sent to all tenants.
- Energy saving videos delivered by building services operatives.
- Sessions held at community living scheme tenants to plan how to reduce communal costs: eg. timers on communal lighting; reducing thermostat settings.
- Solar panel project at Cwrt Severn scheme providing green energy to communal spaces.
- Gold re-let standard: new home is decorated, carpeted, blinds provided.
- Furniture packs for new tenants not eligible for Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF).
- Winter packs: including slow cookers, air fryers, blankets, socks etc.
- Wellbeing calls to potentially vulnerable households.
- Winter Warmer sessions in community living schemes.
Alleviation and Mitigation:
- Restructure and rebrand hardship fund for quicker intervention. Now called Trellis.
- Maximising fuel vouchers and free SIMS.
- Automated foodbank referral process. Restructure and rebrand of our employment support to widen remit. Focussing on promoting financial capability, outreach campaigns and supporting tenants into work or to better jobs.
- Promoting self-serve budgeting and better-off calculation tools.
- Cost of the Working Day support.
- Targeted campaigns to alleviate specific areas of financial stress.
- Holiday Snack Attack Packs.
- Participatory budgeting with MCC.
- Cost of Living area summits.
- Energy Advice SLA with Warm Wales
- Advice for older persons SLA with Care & Repair.
- Partnerships and referral pathways with Disability Advice Project, CAB, Gateway Credit Union and Stepchange.
- Strong partnerships with DWP, Job Centre Plus and MCC Shared Benefits Service.
- Partnership with the Working Wardrobe from Moxie People.
- Partnerships with benevolent groups and churches access to food hampers and support for more isolated households.
- Levelling Up: iConnect Digital Inclusion
- Multiply: support for financial capability and numeracy.
- Targeted use of Community Benefits to advice provision.
- Community Hubs supported by targeted activity from our Engagement Team.
- Food clubs, Monmouthshire Masterchef, Masterchef Minis, Games & Grub after school club.
- Future Footsteps: Sustainable You Sustainable Me sustainable period project, Thrift workshops, sustainable fashion shows, pre-loved clothing pop-ups and uniform drives and Baby bank.
Outcomes and Impact
- Prevented significant increase in arrears and tenant indebtedness.
- In 12 months, 53 people supported into work and £673,411 in additional income for tenants
- Levered in resources to add to our own funds
Fred Weston – Wellbeing Lead, Monmouthshire County Council said:
MHA’s commitment to partnership working has resulted in the successful implementation of projects aimed at early intervention and prevention. By working closely with community members and other key partners, we have been able to identify and address issues before they escalate into crises, ultimately making a significant difference in the lives of many people.
MHA’s ability to transcend traditional organisational barriers and form effective place-based teams is a testament to their commitment to community-oriented values.