By Ben Hart, Storybeat

A single parent from Staffordshire has been able to remain in her home with her daughter thanks to a vital National Lottery-funded project supporting communities bearing the brunt of cost-of-living pressures.

New research announced by The National Lottery Community Fund this week also shows people across the country are predicting mounting difficulties for local services due to the impact of the current economic climate.

Funding of nearly half a million pounds (£499,800) from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, is enabling Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizens' Advice Bureau (SNSCAB) to continue delivering its Potteries Moneywise (PMW) financial capabilities project, which supports vulnerable communities in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Biddulph and Stoke-on-Trent with proactively managing finances and debt. 

Further support from The National Lottery is helping the project to continue to reach survivors of domestic abuse, minority ethnic communities, young people and those with learning disabilities. 

One-to-one advice either is available in-person or over the telephone, with training packages also on offer to help people manage their money better.  

Thanks to National Lottery players, the money has helped some of the most vulnerable people impacted by cost-of-living pressures in our communities. 

And new figures released this week through The National Lottery Community Fund’s latest **Community Research Index shows that over half of us (55 per cent) believe that supporting people with the rising cost-of-living is most important for the wellbeing of their local community, with almost exactly one in two (49 per cent) intending to volunteer in 2023 with young people (18 to 24) leading the way (69 per cent).

One anonymous service user, who discovered the Potteries Moneywise scheme via Facebook, said: “I did not have had any electric for when my little girl came home from school.

“Potteries Moneywise have shared some helpful information and I feel a lot less worried now. Thanks to their support, my daughter and I can go home tonight instead of to my mum’s.”

Another beneficiary commented: “I was desperate and didn't know how to deal with the mess that I'd got into. Potteries Moneywise helped me to get more of my rent paid and reduced my bills and showed me where I could save money.

“They've been a massive help and I don't know where I'd be without them. If it wasn’t for their support, I would have had to take out a loan, or something like that, and then I probably wouldn't be able to pay it back.”

National Lottery funding distributors - encompassing sports, arts, heritage, and community - collectively awarded over £1 billion pounds to support communities throughout the UK during the coronavirus pandemic, to help them cope and recover.

And now the £30 million raised each week by National Lottery players for good causes is at the forefront in supporting communities who need it the most facing cost-of-living pressures.

Organisations throughout the UK facing increased demands, challenges, and hardships as a direct result of the pressures are being supported in various ways, as National Lottery funders throughout the UK have responded with new priorities to help communities with an approach that centres around flexibility and support. 

Many existing funding programmes have been adapted or tailored by National Lottery funders to prioritise cost of living support. The National Lottery Community Fund alone is making an initial £75 million available UK wide to help those most in need – providing community groups with greater certainty at this critical time. All funding will be kept open and available, and ready to adapt, as part of its We’re Here for You commitment.

Whether it’s funding to improve the thermal efficiency of heritage sites, providing energy efficient floodlights for community sports clubs faced with the burden of increased costs, providing thousands of free hot meals and food parcels, warm places for the community to come together during the winter months, or supporting with money management and mental health initiatives.

The National Lottery is making life that little bit easier by providing a wide array of support across sports, arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment, and sports sectors during these challenging times. 

Another beneficiary of Potteries Moneywise added: “They have helped me to claim benefits that I did not know I was entitled to, they have given me the right advice.

“My adviser has been so helpful and lovely and is a great ambassador for the organisation.

“I came to them because I knew they would be able to help me.

“If it hadn’t been for this support I would be in debt and in a very dark place.

“My mental health would have suffered, and life would have been a nightmare without this help.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary projects across the UK; see the difference it’s making near you at 

** NB: Research conducted on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund by Savanta ComRes between 2nd and 28th November 2022, amongst 8,968 UK adults weighted to be representative of UK adults by gender, age, region, social grade and ethnicity. 8,059 UK adults were previously surveyed between 7th and 22nd September 2021 and 7,009 UK adults were interviewed between 27th November and 8th December 2020.