Jewish citizens’ advice bureau Paperweight has launched an emergency appeal saying it “could be overwhelmed” by calls from families struggling with the financial, administrative or legal effect of the pandemic.
The small charity based in north-west London said it was “already stretched” before the spread of the coronavirus and ensuing lockdown left it “struggling to accommodate all the confidential consultations that need to take place”.
Started around a kitchen table ten years ago, it now oversees the casework of 150 volunteers helping those in crisis through a mixture of legal, financial and benefits advice, demand for which has soared in recent weeks.
“While we anticipated demand for our services to grow because of Covid-19, we had no idea of how soon it could threaten to overwhelm us,” said the charity in a statement this week.
“In a community that has experienced a disproportionate loss of life we are seeing an equally dramatic growth in the number of people seeking bereavement support. Next will be those who have lost their jobs and whose businesses have closed down because of the virus.”
Co-founders Bayla Perrin and Benjamin Conway said: “Until now we’ve made ends meet but the fallout from Covid-19 has put much greater demands on us and we now need help.
“We’re not a charity that can furlough anyone. In fact, in order to respond to the growth in demand, we have to increase our management team. Ours is not a large additional budget at £50,000, but if we can’t [find this money] we may have to start turning people away, which will undoubtedly worsen their situation.”