100 organisations join campaign giving voice to millions supported by benefits

10 December 2013

One hundred organisations have joined a growing campaign to give a voice to the millions of people supported by benefits at some point in their lives.

Locality became the 100th member of the Who Benefits? campaign, which launched in October this year, with polling showing widespread support for benefits as a safety net for those in need.[1

The Who Benefits? campaign now includes a broad coalition of charities, professional networks and community groups such as RNIB, The National Autistic Society, Oxfam, the Stroke Association, Carers UK, Working Families and the Chartered Institute of Housing. (The complete list is below.)

Benefits matter to millions

Together, these groups represent millions of people who have relied on support from benefits because of ill health, caring for a loved one, losing their job or just struggling with low wages and the high cost of living.

The campaign was brought together by charities The Children’s Society, Crisis, Gingerbread, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind. It was launched to bring the voices of the millions of people who have been supported by benefits at some point in their lives to a debate often dominated by extreme examples and stereotypes. 

The campaign is calling on politicians and the public to do more to understand the lives of people supported by benefits and focus on real reasons that people are struggling such as low wages, a rising cost of living and the housing crisis.

'The benefits system . . . is vital for all of us'

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

'All of us will care for or need care from loved ones at some point in our lives. Following a diagnosis of dementia, treatment for cancer or the birth of a disabled child – every family may need support from the benefits system, as they cope with the financial impact of having to cut working hours or give up work to care and the extra costs of ill-health and disability. The benefits system isn’t there for a small part of society – it is vital for all of us.'

Joanna Holmes, Chair of Locality, said:

'Locality is delighted to be the 100th member of the Who Benefits? campaign. A decent benefits system is a hallmark of a decent society and we believe it is really important that the voices of those living on benefits are heard – and that people understand the real help that benefits provide to individuals, families and communities.'

Tom Madders, Head of Campaigns at the National Autistic Society, said:

'Benefits are a lifeline and not a luxury for thousands of disabled people and their families across the UK. We frequently hear from people with autism who are worried about what the future might hold if they didn’t have the support of benefits. 

'Without benefits many people with autism and those who care for them would be left isolated and adrift from society. Campaigns like this are vital in raising awareness of the pressures that people living with disability are currently under and we hope that by working together we can draw attention to the human faces behind the benefits debate.'

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families, said:

'We support the Who Benefits? campaign. We know from callers to our helpline that there are times when working parents and carers need some support from benefits. It is this support, often short term, which enables them to balance work and caring responsibilities and still make work pay.'

Sharing stories

The campaign is asking people to share their stories through the Who Benefits? website. Hundreds of people who have been supported by benefits have already added their voice through the website and through social media with the hashtag #WeAllBenefit

Ends

Media enquiries

For more information, to arrange an interview or for details of case studies, please contact The Children’s Society on 020 7841 4422 or media@childrenssociety.org.uk.

Footnote

[1] The Who Benefits? Campaign launched in October this year with polling from YouGov showing that 81% agree that 'benefits are an important safety net to support people when they need help', while 64% agree that 'we all benefit as a society when support from benefits is available for those that need it'. Find details of the launch.

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Notes to editor

The Who Benefits? campaign is giving a voice to people who have been supported by benefits at some point in their lives. It uses real stories to show the reality of who needs help, why they need it and the difference it makes. It was brought together by The Children’s Society, Crisis, Gingerbread, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind. 

To find out more about the campaign or to tell your own story please visit www.whobenefits.org.uk or follow us on Twitter, @WeAllBenefit.

The 100 organisations that are supporting the Who Benefits? campaign are:

  1. Action for Children 
  2. Action for ME 
  3. Al Mizan Trust
  4. Anthony Nolan 
  5. Aurora New Dawn 
  6. Bipolar UK
  7. Bliss
  8. Broadway
  9. Camden Federation of Private Tenants
  10. Carers Trust
  11. Carers UK 
  12. Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) 
  13. Centre for Mental Health 
  14. Centre for Sustainable Energy 
  15. Centrepoint  
  16. Child Poverty Action Group 
  17. Children England
  18. Church Action on Poverty
  19. Community Links 
  20. Contact a Family 
  21. Cool Tan Arts
  22. Crisis
  23. CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network)
  24. Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  25. DeafBlind UK
  26. Disability Cornwall
  27. Disability Rights UK
  28. Drugscope
  29. Emmaus UK
  30. Epilepsy Action
  31. Epilepsy Society
  32. Every Disabled Child Matters
  33. Family Action 
  34. Gingerbread
  35. Grandparents Plus 
  36. Guide Dogs
  37. Hafal 
  38. Homeless Link 
  39. Housing Justice 
  40. Just Fair 
  41. Law Centres Network
  42. Leonard Cheshire Disability 
  43. Locality
  44. Lymphoma Association 
  45. Macmillan Cancer Support
  46. Mencap
  47. Mind 
  48. Money Advice Trust
  49. MS Society 
  50. National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers 
  51. National Council for Voluntary Youth Service
  52. Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service 
  53. Norwood
  54. Oxfam
  55. Parkinsons UK
  56. Photovoice
  57. Poverty Alliance 
  58. Rethink
  59. Rightsnet/ Lasa
  60. RNIB
  61. Scope 
  62. Scottish Association for Mental Health
  63. Scottish Women's Aid
  64. Second Step
  65. Sense
  66. Shelter
  67. Sitra
  68. South East London ME Support Group 
  69. SPAN
  70. St Helen's YMCA 
  71. St Mungo’s
  72. St Petrocks
  73. Stroke Association
  74. Suicide Safer London
  75. Tenant Participation Advisory Service 
  76. Terrence Higgins Trust 
  77. Thames Reach 
  78. The Action Group
  79. The Association of Panel Members
  80. The Cardinal Hume Centre 
  81. The Chartered Institute of Housing
  82. The Children's Society
  83. The Connection at St-Martins-in-the-field
  84. The Foyer Federation 
  85. The Grassmarket Community Project
  86. The Mental Health Foundation
  87. The Metro Centre
  88. The Motor Neurone Disease Association 
  89. The National Autistic Society
  90. The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
  91. The Neurological Alliance 
  92. The Passage 
  93. The Pavement 
  94. Turn2Us 
  95. United Response 
  96. United Welsh Housing Association
  97. Women’s Budget Group 
  98. Working Families
  99. YMCA
  100. Z2k