As with so many organisations, the biggest challenge for Tower Hamlets in 2021 was the Covid-19 pandemic and associated recovery work. People in or close to poverty were hit hard in many ways. It was very important to the council to ensure that it had a good understanding of how it could help people to recover from the financial impacts of Covid-19.
Tower Hamlets is one of the most unequal boroughs in the country. While many of its residents had seen little or no financial impact, for many others the additional costs associated with lockdown, in particular when schools were also closed, were devastating.
Using the LIFT platform from Policy in Practice, Tower Hamlets could not only see who was living in poverty, but could keep up to date with changes in people’s circumstances. Whilst the council holds a lot of its data, the ability to quickly run reports allowed them to target information and projects. This was incredibly helpful to us and saved a lot of time.
Tower Hamlets uses the LIFT platform to run regular benefit take-up campaigns to help ensure that people are claiming everything they are entitled to. Pension credit take-up was very successful, with over £150,000 per year claimed so far in additional income for its residents.
LIFT was also used to plan locations for its summer holiday food and activities scheme, ensuring coverage in areas of the borough where the schemes were most needed. A similar programme is in planning to set up a number of food pantries in the borough and again, LIFT is helping to plan where these should go.
The Tackling Poverty Programme Team delivered a total of 102,359 free school meals, reached over 6,000 households with its pandemic food provision and distributed £3 million of support to households for food and essential household needs.
As a result of their valiant efforts to give their most vulnerable residents the best possible support throughout the pandemic, the team won the Excellence in Innovation (Service Delivery) award from the IRRV in 2021.
LIFT is a great piece of kit which enables us to plan effectively in a short amount of time. But as well as the product being great, so are the staff, always happy to help and to find new ways we can utilise the information to support our most financially vulnerable residents.
Ellie Kershaw,Tackling Poverty Programme Manager, Tower Hamlets