Social justice is at the heart of our work and central to our mission. From tackling poverty, homelessness and isolation, to supporting refugees, asylum seekers and prisoners, we turn concern into action.
Update: 3rd March, 2021
Read our full response to the Chancellor's Budget, 2021
Social Policy and campaigning
Our mission is to tackle poverty in all its forms. Our Social Policy team campaigns to make England and Wales a better place for all and free of social injustice. We work with people in a spirit of justice and campaign to identify and tackle the root causes of poverty through lobbying, community organising and campaigning. We identify areas where, on the evidence drawn from our practical work, we can speak out with authority and seek to influence policy makers and public opinion. These include food poverty, homelessness, in-work poverty, isolation, challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers and prisoners and their families.
We apply the message of Catholic Social Teaching to our work and seek to empower people to become their own spokespeople and hold those in power accountable.
How do we do it?
We employ a bottom-up approach to identify our policy priorities and work closely with people who may feel powerless, left behind or not listened to. Through our extensive network of SVP groups, we carry out ongoing ‘listening’ to identify the issues people are facing in their communities. Visiting and befriending people who may be isolated, in need, or in prison, is core to our work and values and gives us our unique identity. It also provides insight into the complex issues facing people every day, helping us to raise awareness about the things that really matter to them and identify solutions that can make a difference to their lives. We then work with them, not on behalf of them, to influence policy makers to make changes that have a real impact on people’s lives. Listening is at the core of what we do because we want to help make visible and vocal those who disappear and are often unheard in our society.
We work closely with other organisations to maximise our impact and strengthen our voice. Some of the organisations we work with include CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), VIP (Vincentians in Partnership), PACT and CAP (Christians Against Poverty).
We also join forces with other organisations and faith groups to campaign on issues affecting the lives of the people we help. We are a signatory to the Keep the Lifeline campaign, calling on the government to make the £20 increase to Universal Credit permanent and to extend the increase to legacy benefits.
At the start of this crisis the Government uplifted the standard allowance of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 a week. This increase is due to end in April this year unless the Government decides to keep it. Failure to make this uplift permanent will affect millions of families who will see their income reduced by £1,040 a year. We are also concerned that this increase has not been extended to people and families on legacy benefits, the majority of whom are disabled, sick or carers.
This is why we are urging the Government to Keep the Lifeline for millions of struggling families by making this uplift permanent and making sure families on legacy benefits can also access this increase.
Government Ministers are currently considering whether to keep the uplift or cut it. MPs need to understand the urgency of this issue and how it will affect their local area - they need to hear from their constituents across the country. We are encouraging people who are supported by Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit, and also those who are not on benefits but who care about this issue, to write urgently to their MP about how a £20 cut would impact them and their community. We have put together a simple guide on how to write to your MP you can follow and use your voice to help those most in need to receive support and protection.
How to write to your MP
1. Either write you own personal email to your MP or use the template below. If you do use our template, please try and add a few comments to make it personal and say why this issue matters to you, this will increase the chances of the MP taking the time to respond to your message. You do not have to be claiming benefits to write to your MP, you can simply be a person who cares about the issue and is concerned about your community and those most vulnerable.
Dear XXXXXXX MP,
I am writing as someone who is on Universal Credit/Working Tax Credit OR ESA/JSA/Income Support to urge you to ask Rishi Sunak & Thérèse Coffey, to do the right thing by making the recent £20 uplift to Universal Credit & Working Tax Credit permanent and extend it to families on legacy benefits too.
[If you’re Universal Credit allowance has increased because of the uplift, write a few words about the kind of impact the additional £20 has had on you]
[If you haven’t had the uplift, or if you are not currently on benefits, write a few words about why this issue is very important to you]
Please urgently write or speak to Ministers and ask them to keep the lifeline and ensure those on legacy benefits are not left behind. I would appreciate a response and thank you for your time.
2. Go to www.writetothem.com and enter your postcode. Scroll down to find ‘Your MP’, click on their name.
3. Copy and paste the letter you’ve drafted.
4. Follow the instructions on the website to send your letter.
Please let us know if you have written to your MP and if you get a response from them. You can share any responses with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It may take a few weeks for them to get back to you, but you should hear back from them.