NAC: Cost of Living Concerns

speech bubbles with the words you said and we didIn Focus: NAC response to beneficiary concerns raised about the recent cost of living increases

The NAC listens to beneficiaries and acts on your concerns

In October 2022, the NAC received beneficiary feedback regarding the impact of the recent cost-of-living increases. Following these concerns, the NAC decided to write a report to present to Trustees to highlight this issue and to ask them to consider a special payment to beneficiaries.

To support this paper, the NAC requested feedback from the community and received 11 responses from beneficiaries who were concerned about the impact of rising costs. The paper was then presented at the NAC meeting in November (as highlighted in the meeting notes circulated in December 2022).

At the meeting, staff explained that the Trust has received very few enquiries (only four) regarding this issue and beneficiaries have not highlighted this issue at HNAs or in their regular ongoing contact with the Health & Wellbeing Team.

Feedback from the Trust and Finance Committee

The Trust’s view is that the need for urgent financial support is not universal – a significant number of beneficiaries still have large financial balances held at the Trust - and support is available, if needed, on a case-by-case basis, for example through an Emergency Advances and the Exceptional Needs Fund. Trustees do not have the freedom to make additional payments across the board to beneficiaries - the Trust has to operate within an agreed funding framework and any funding over and above the Annual Grant payments needs to be based on clear evidence of needs.

Based on the feedback provided, the NAC updated the report and presented it to Finance Committee in December for further discussion. Finance Committee did not agree to the request for additional funding for the reasons outlined above, and because beneficiaries are due to receive an uplift in their 2023 Trust grants above the current level of inflation and Diageo have agreed to provide a lump sum – of at least £20,000 - to every beneficiary as part of the Chairs’ Review process. However, the Health & Wellbeing Team is working on a ‘Cost of Living Update’ to signpost beneficiaries to sources of additional financial support which will be published soon.

If you are struggling to pay your bills or are worrying about your finances, please do not hesitate to contact the Finance Team on 01480 474074 for advice and support.

Read more from the NAC in the full Winter 2023 Newsletter (PDF)