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Calling on community champions: can you take action and help provide relief from the cold snap?

While the UK and Northern European headlines announce the “cold snap” including “arctic blasts” and “chilling winds”, let us not forget the ongoing storm of the Cost of Living and energy crisis that those most vulnerable are already facing. RJ4All is calling on community champions who are able to spare some change to support the final stretch of its Crowdfunder campaign to Keep our Community Warm this Winter

Warm-Happy-Connected (WHC) launched quickly in response to the escalating cost of living crisis and fears expressed by local residents. Since its launch in December, the organisation has seen a steady increase of users by 250%. Without having already secured funding, this increase cannot be sustained without additional funds. Now in its final days, this will be your final chance to support the organisation’s efforts to maintain its vital Warm, Happy and Connected project and maximise the holistic support services available to local residents. 

At the close of 2022, the Restorative Justice for All (RJ4All) International Institute introduced a crowdfunding campaign to support its efforts to keep SE16 and Southwark residents  #WarmThisWinter. Throughout the day-to-day running of the RJ4All Community Centre as well as events such as the winter gathering, many testimonies noted changes from the cost of living crisis, and fears for the oncoming winter and food shortages. 

 “I understand the government is pushed for money and times are hard. But this is a real-life situation, real human beings. Somebody’s mother, sister, brother. … We sometimes have to borrow money, and that’s not very nice. … We do need your support. ” SE16 resident and frequent RJ4All Community Centre service user 

In response, RJ4All extended its opening hours and services this winter to combat the bitter cold and soaring energy bills amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

Throughout this challenging winter, the WHC project has ensured that the Rotherhithe Community Centre’s warm hub has stayed open as a heated, social and welcoming space for local residents. In addition to these resources, the campaign enables the centre to house a series of free weekly activities including coffee, tea and music sessions, fitness classes, digital drop-in support sessions and clothes mending workshops together with our standard free community services, such as a non-referral community fridge, gym, library with free internet, and charity shop.

The WHC’s warm hub has hosted popular digital support sessions every Thursday at the centre, where we provide community members with tech support alongside a cup of tea. These sessions have become very lively for some one-off attendees as well as our returnees committed to improving their lives. 

“These computer sessions have really been good for me and helped me a lot. I am computer illiterate and not very good with these kinds of things. Being able to come into the centre every week and get help has been amazing. I am very grateful for them and I feel like I can do so much more now with email, and my Google and YouTube, all the things I use every day.” – A local regular service-user

RJ4all is committed to maintain this project and as a cost-of-living support hub and valuable resource for local SE16 residents throughout this troubling economic time. 

“Today we are making a call to those who can spare some change to support our mission to mitigate against unprecedented levels of economic hardship during the cost of living crisis. This direct relief is key to kick-starting the pathway to holistic support that we seek to provide throughout SE16, as a part of our wider goal to build a restorative postcode, where local residents not only have their basic needs addressed, but feel empowered in their daily lives. Your support is needed now more than ever.” – Georgina, RJ4All Operations Manager 

However, RJ4All must sustain its non-funded activities as well as their own increasing electricity costs. Warm-Happy-Connected is an unfunded project that was launched quickly to meet the needs of local residents, without having secured funding. 

To maximise the chance for the local community to pop in and stay warm, and access the centre’s holistic services whilst they are here, RJ4All is making an urgent call. To support their continued delivery of their warm hub, including maximised services such as our Community Fridge and drop-in workshops, please visit the WHC crowdfunder page to safely donate today, and by Wednesday 15th March before the campaign closes. 

Notes to editors: 

·      RJ4All is equally calling on its supporters to support FareShare’s petition to the government to repledge £25 million annually to support farmers, allowing 100 million meals to be delivered to communities worst affected by the cost of living crisis. 

·      To embrace both of these movements, RJ4All is motivated to redistribute our own supply of foodstuffs to where it is needed the most. We are doing this by dispensing nutritious food to South East London communities while also reducing food waste. Our Community Fridge not only serves the food requirements of local community members, it also functions as a place for people to connect with others. This offering is valued as a crucial reinforcement amidst the cost-of-living crisis, supporting community members to better cope with the economic strain.

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