News & Stories

Cost of Living Crisis | Colleagues

Liz RobertsIf you’re a PlaceShaper follower of yore, you may recall the #WeCare hashtag from some years ago. That campaign focussed on the myriad ways we reach into our communities supporting those partners who distribute day-to-day practical kindnesses to our residents.

Knowing your patch and the services to which to signpost people was a recurring theme of this session – only, this time, we weren’t talking about residents. Instead we heard about the ways in which three members - Greatwell Homes (we heard from CEO Jo Savage), Mosscare St Vincent's (MSV) (Nicola Brandon, Assistant Director, People and Talent and WCHG (Nick Horne, CEO) are supporting colleagues. Many of these colleagues are frontline service-deliverers while also bearing the emotional trauma of customers facing the cost of living crisis. Just imagine how gruelling that is when you’re dealing with any hardship in your own household at the same time – and, the chances are, most of us are at the moment.

Publicising the availability of services for residents allows staff, too, to pick up on opportunities discreetly. An example is spotlighting local credit unions to point out the alternatives to borrowing on credit cards or from loan sharks. In some cases corporate lenders are also offering personal finance advice or free financial health checks to staff.

Chaired by Cath Purdy of South Lakes HA the session looked at broad issues around the cost of living crisis, such as pay solutions which which benefit lower paid colleagues significantly more.

Policy interventions currently in play among the three speakers’ organisations include: ensuring genuinely flexible working policies for carers and pay benchmarking against other salaries in the area - not just in social housing. One member reported that staff retention among lower paid roles where staff might easily be tempted away into other unskilled jobs nearby had significantly improved as a result of applying the median. 

Our speakers were already implementing smart ideas for soft support for staff, including ‘normalising the difficult conversations’ by instituting a financial wellbeing hub. Members offering programmes of Mental Health First Aiders offering peer support were common.

All the speakers offered direct contact if that could be useful once you’ve viewed the member-only recording: get in touch with them via Charlotte Kay at PlaceShapers.