Our Unique Service
Horsham Matters is a ‘one stop shop’ for the most vulnerable members of the Horsham
community.

Through LAN funding we have provided a holistic service which has provided
invaluable support across a breadth of need. The uniqueness of signposting, coordination
and delivery has resulted in both an efficient and cost effective service,
ensuring that need is met, preventing deepening crisis and increased strain upon other
statutory services.

We have experienced an increasing demand in need for our LAN services, supporting
60 clients during the month of October 2018. We dedicate time to each client face to
face, ensuring that we are able to understand their needs and signpost to other
agencies as appropriate.

Our LAN clients are generally emotionally distressed when they arrive at our office. We
are often the only organisation they have made contact with, sharing their very
personal stories of hardship. We support them sensitively, by, for example, providing
much needed breakfast for those that have been rough sleeping overnight and
contacting other organisations on their behalf.

We are able to respond immediately to their food and fuel poverty, providing food
parcels if the need is urgent or food bank vouchers and fuel vouchers. We will organise
deliveries of white goods and furniture at the earliest opportunity. The speediness of our
response has a direct impact upon reducing expenditure for other agencies, for
example bed and breakfast and other temporary accommodation costs.

As a Charity we will also go above and beyond the expectations of the LAN to support
our clients. We provide discount cards for our Charity Superstore, as well as other
household items not covered by the LAN. Horsham Matters provides these services from
our own funds to enable those moving in to temporary accommodation or into new
accommodation to create their ‘home’, not just a place to live. We always prioritise the
needs of our LAN clients against those of customer requests in the shop; again the
Charity underwrites this potential loss of income, as our primary role is to improve the
lives of those facing adversity. Addressing the needs of our clients so holistically
improves wellbeing, reducing stress and therefore potential costs to health services.

We provide a range of services across the Horsham District. For example, we deliver the
Night Shelter each year in conjunction with Horsham Churches Together. We also
provide a monthly Community Meal for those adults experiencing social isolation. We
have excellent links with other organisations and are therefore perfectly placed to
ensure that there is on-going support to our LAN clients, facilitating access to other
agencies and service providers as well as developing community links for vulnerable
adults and families. These community networks reduce the demands upon statutory
services.

We also ensure that this community support reaches all areas of the Horsham District.
For example, we are able to complete referrals electronically for those in rural locations.
We have also delivered food parcels to those unable to travel or access a food bank
location.

Accessibility of services for the vulnerable is essential and therefore a network of
delivery is crucial. Our clients describe how difficult telephone calls can be; indeed
many can’t afford a phone, a way in which so many services now have to be
accessed. Our network of foodbanks across the district, as well as our other projects,
including our youth delivery across Horsham, facilitates access, resulting in referrals for
our community support.

The accessibility and the trusted relationships we build will contribute to the numbers of
referrals we process.

The Numbers
Horsham Matters responds to the evolving needs of Horsham residents, striving to
develop services which support the wider needs of LAN clients. The LAN data provides
clear evidence of the need in Horsham and therefore the need for LAN funding to
support vulnerable adults and children.

The Horsham District has a population of 131,600 (2011Census data) and although
generally considered to be an affluent area it has pockets of deprivation which have a
high level of need. This is reflected in the LAN network data.

Our LAN provides support for both adults and families, without the limitations which exist
with other providers such as the IPEH hubs. The need for assistance in Horsham is
broadly in equal measure between single households and multi occupational
households.

We see the greatest number of residents in social housing compared with the LAN
network. We are fortunate that we have strong links with the Horsham District Housing
Associations. These relationships have facilitated access to specialist Housing
Association benefits advisers, encouraging engagement and therefore longer term
improved outcomes for our clients.

Horsham residents have required the highest volume of furniture across the LAN
network. We have seen an increase in need to provide furniture for those being rehoused
into Horsham, being moved in to temporary accommodation or from
temporary to permanent accommodation. With the level of housing development in
Horsham we do not expect this need to reduce.

Horsham Matters LAN clients experience food (as a single LAN provider) and fuel
poverty in higher numbers than all other LAN agencies. Between April 2018 and
September 2018, we provided food through our network of Trussell Trust foodbanks in
the Horsham District to 420 adults and 219 children. We issued 294 fuel top ups for LAN
clients during the previous financial year, again the highest level of the network. We
fully expect that this number will increase this financial year based upon our average
monthly figures to date.

We have proactively addressed these increasing needs, for example, through provision
of emergency food parcels at a variety of locations throughout the district to improve
accessibility e.g. Henfield Medical Centre. Continued expansion of our Trussell Trust food
bank network is a priority for the forthcoming year. We provide additional food parcels
during school holidays and over the Christmas period when those experiencing poverty
are faced with further hardship.

From a financial perspective we have also sought to find sustainable solutions to the
increasing demand in fuel, launching a campaign to encourage those in receipt of
winter fuel allowances to donate them if they don’t themselves have a need. We
recognise that this demand is not going to reduce and we are therefore seeking other
funding streams. This is clear evidence of our social enterprise and on-going
commitment to support our community.

Our Clients
Nothing speaks more volume than the client’s voice to evidence the desperation that
they experience and the positive impact that the LAN service has upon their lives. At
the moment of crisis they have received signposting, guidance and assistance on
numerous levels, resulting in delivery which addresses their crisis and prevents further
deterioration of their circumstances.

The case studies below demonstrate the vulnerability of clients and their complex
circumstances. They turn to us and the LAN at their most desperate.

*Michelle’s story
Michelle has learning difficulties and has been receiving Employment and Support
Allowance for many years. At her last DWP medical, ESA was stopped, as the DWP now
believe she is capable of work. Michelle disagrees, as does her GP, who feels she is not
capable of any work. Michelle has sought help from the Benefits Adviser at her Housing
Association. The adviser has helped her to lodge a mandatory reconsideration (MR) of
the decision to stop her ESA, which is a lengthy process. Michelle has been waiting for
10 weeks so far for the outcome (the target time is 4-6 weeks). You cannot reclaim ESA
while an MR is pending. Michelle does have the option of claiming Universal Credit.
However, under UC, she would be financially worse off, and her adviser feels she would
currently struggle to maintain a claim to UC due to her disability. He has therefore
advised Michelle not to claim UC at this stage, as once UC is claimed, she cannot
reclaim ESA. This is in the hope that the MR is successful. If not, Michelle will have to
formally appeal the decision. At this stage she can reclaim the basic rate of ESA. Until
this point, Michelle has no income, apart from help from family. We have therefore
helped her with food and fuel vouchers during this time. We have also invited Michelle
and her sister to our monthly community meal, which provides a regular opportunity for
socialising and forming new friendships.

* name has been changed to protect anonymity

*James’ story
James, aged 19, had been homeless, but had finally been allocated social housing.
James suffers from severe mental health problems (depression and obsessive
compulsive disorder) and receives higher rates of Personal Independence Payment,
together with Employment and Support Allowance. He was referred to us by his social
worker for help with furniture and white goods. We were able to provide essential
furniture for the flat including a bed, sofa, wardrobe, kitchen items, and a TV and
microwave, together with a new cooker, fridge and washing machine. This not only
enabled James to move in to the accommodation, but also to ensure that he was able
to safely organise his food and laundry – this is particularly important to Michael due to
his OCD.
In addition, we provided a discount card for our shop, which will enable him to obtain
50% off other items he needs for his property, and we signposted him to our foodbank
at the Billingshurst Family Church, in case he was in need of an emergency food parcel.

* name has been changed to protect anonymity

*Laura’s story
Laura was working but became ill and was no longer able to work. She is a single
parent with two children. She claimed Universal Credit but had very little money during
the 5 week waiting period. During this time, we provided weekly foodbank vouchers.
Universal Credit has now been awarded. However, as Laura has a mortgaged
property, she will have to wait 39 weeks before gets any help with the mortgage
through UC. She is therefore having to juggle her extremely limited income in order to
keep paying the mortgage. We are therefore continuing to provide foodbank
vouchers when needed, as Laura’s income at this time does not cover her essential
outgoings.

* name has been changed to protect anonymity

*Sarah’s story
Sarah came to see us to request help with her gas and electric, and with food. She was
very upset, and embarrassed at having to ask for help. She is a single parent and in
receipt of Universal Credit. Sarah has rent arrears and has been using her UC to pay off
as much as she can. She is obviously desperate to keep a roof over her and her son’s
head. However, as a result she is now short of money, and is need of help with food
and fuel. We were able to provide food and fuel vouchers.
We also discussed her debt situation – Sarah has other debts in addition to rent arrears.
We talked about the importance of ensuring she leaves herself enough money for food
and heating, and advised that payments to all creditors can be negotiated so that
they are manageable. We signposted her to Citizens Advice and Step Change for help
with her debt, and emphasised that she could return for further help if needed. Sarah
was extremely grateful for our help.

* name has been changed to protect anonymity

*Chloe’s story
Chloe and her four children had just moved into a new Saxon Weald property. Her
partner had just left her, and taken essential white goods and furniture. Her partner was
abusive. We discussed the actions she had taken as a result of his behaviour, to ensure
she had reported this to all the relevant agencies and was safe.
Chloe has had to claim Universal Credit, and is waiting for this to come through. In the
meantime, we helped Chloe with a foodbank voucher.
The DWP had told Chloe that they can only help towards 50% of the rent, as it is still a
joint tenancy. We advised Chloe that this was incorrect and with her agreement,
referred her to the Benefits Advice team at Saxon Weald.
In addition, we provided the client with the items of furniture needed, and assisted with
the purchase of a new cooker.

* name has been changed to protect anonymity

The above is just a snapshot of the range and extent of our client’s needs. We are able
to provide this support through the LAN funding together with our own charitable funds,
with our in-house expertise to maximum effect.

Long term impacts of poverty
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs describes fuel, food and shelter as a Level 1 physical
survival need. The LAN enables adults and children to have their basic needs met.

Food and fuel poverty have a significant impact upon the outcomes of the population;
the human and financial costs are well documented. The report, ‘Health economic
impact of managing patients following a community-based diagnosis of malnutrition in
the UK’ (Clinical Nutrition, Volume 30, Issue 4), informs us that malnourished people:
? Saw their GP twice as often
? Had 3 times the number of hospital admissions and
? Stayed in hospital more than 3 days longer than those who were well nourished
? Have more ill health
The long term impact upon those experiencing food poverty is clear; the consequential
impact upon the National Health Service is also very clear. The need to provide food is
therefore essential.

Fuel poverty is also recognised as increasing risks to mental health and therefore
consequential costs to statutory services.

It is also well known that living in temporary accommodation has an adverse impact
upon health, school attendance and outcomes for all. The speed at which we can
support adults and children out of the temporary accommodation is critical in reducing
stress and strain.

In Summary
We hope that we have provided in this response evidence of the current need and
expected increased needs of our LAN clients. The demand is there, evidence of the
impact of provision is clear and the consequences of not providing these services are
widely recognised. As crisis compounds, the costs to statutory services will increase.
We feel that our Charity is responsive to need, anticipates need and is ‘value-adding’
at every opportunity.

We would ask West Sussex County Council to reconsider their proposed cuts, as the
Horsham community requires this LAN funding. The impact of these cuts will be
catastrophic, taking in to account the cuts that Horsham has already had in its social
funding. Failing to intervene when people face poverty will inevitably create
deepening poverty and crisis.

Please have your say, complete the online survey, follow the link below:
https://haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk/policy-and-comms/localassistance/