Marking the 10th anniversary of the Islington Resident Support Scheme are (clockwise from top left) former Cripplegate Foundation governor Rob Hull, Cripplegate Foundation co-chair Nezahat Cihan, Cripplegate Foundation director Sarah Benioff, Clarion Housing Association’s Joe Nwoko, Help On Your Doorstep chief executive Ken Kanu, Islington Council’s joint head of mental health social work Beverley Latania, Cripplegate Foundation co-chair Anne-Marie Ellis, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance Cllr Diarmaid Ward, and Age UK Islington’s communications manager Katie Skea.

Residents’ ‘safety net’ fund marks 10th anniversary and almost £21million given in grant aid

A “vital part of Islington’s safety net” for residents in crisis marked a milestone 10th anniversary this week, looking to the future while marking the £20.5million of short-term relief grants it has provided so far.

Almost 100 people from community groups that refer people to the Islington Resident Support Scheme (RSS) gathered at Islington Town Hall on 4 July to discuss how to build on the scheme to make it an even more effective support fund for local people when they most need it.

The Islington Resident Support Scheme was set up in 2013 in response to the Government’s abolition of the Social Fund. The council joined forces with Cripplegate Foundation to address the gap in short-term emergency funding for residents who find themselves in difficulty. The scheme provides one-off awards for essentials to help people in a wide variety of situations, including those fleeing domestic violence, starting afresh after leaving care, a hospital stay or prison, among other things.

The council worked with Cripplegate Foundation, pooling resources to maximise the financial impact and reach of the scheme. Since then, the RSS has distributed almost £21million in emergency funding through 42,394 grants, and currently works with more than 90 charities, voluntary and community sector organisations who refer residents to the scheme.

To mark the milestone anniversary, almost 100 people from the RSS referral partners network gathered at Islington Town Hall this week to reflect on the last 10 years and plan for the next 10 so it can go from strength to strength.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance, said: “Islington has always been a place with a fantastic community spirit, and it’s truly heartening to see so many local organisations pulling together day-in, day-out to offer the support that any one of us might one day need to rely on.

“The Resident Support Scheme has been a vital part of Islington’s safety net for a decade now, and I’m immensely proud that it has helped tens of thousands of people to get back on their feet after facing desperate situations.

“In many cases these grants are about more than just money to purchase an essential item or pay a bill – they provide breathing space, buy time, reduce stress and help people focus on other priorities. The scheme is also there to signpost people to more help – whether that’s employment support, energy bills advice or maximising their benefits income – to improve their situation.

“This anniversary marks a decade of collaboration across our borough – a real team effort for all involved – and I look forward to working for many more years with Cripplegate Foundation and all the partners who refer residents to the scheme.”

Anne-Marie Ellis, Co-Chair of Cripplegate Foundation, said: “Cripplegate Foundation has been involved in the Resident Support Scheme since its inception in 2013. As co-chair of the Foundation, I am very pleased that we are working in collaboration with Islington Council and so many local charities on such an important safety net for local people during times of crisis.

“It is crucial that this safety net remains in place, and we are excited about the prospect of making it an ever better, more effective support fund for local people when they most need it.”


Case studies

The RSS enables people to improve and enjoy their lives every day in Islington. Some examples are below – all names have been changed.

Paul struggles daily with physical and mental health issues. With the support of Single Homeless Project (SHP), he was able to obtain a council flat after a very challenging time in an overcrowded flat with no space or belongings of his own. Whilst this was a great new start, he couldn’t afford a cooker or fridge as the cost of moving and setting up home had wiped out his limited income. SHP applied to the RSS on Paul’s behalf to purchase a cooker and fridge. He can now shop for his own food and eat more healthily. Paul loves cooking but had little opportunity to do this before. The RSS grant has had a really positive impact on both his mental and physical health.

Shannon has both physical and mental health issues and had been living in a severely cluttered flat, which was in very poor condition.  She did not have a working cooker or fridge and the kitchen was largely unusable. Due to poor mental health, she never went out alone. She existed on a very poor diet and was unable to wash her own clothes. With support she moved to a new housing association flat. The provision of household goods via the RSS meant she could really start afresh in her new home. A new fridge and washing machine mean Shannon can now keep food fresh and do her washing at home. Being able to furnish her new home properly has had a hugely positive impact on Shannon’s mental health and quality of life.

Franklin lives alone with his 12-year-old daughter and experiences poor mental health. When his home was taken over by squatters they caused irreparable damage. While the case went through the courts, they were placed in temporary accommodation and he was referred to the RSS. The team arranged for a package of furniture, white goods, gas hob and electric oven to be installed in his home. Afterwards he told the team: “I don't feel like scum anymore. Just so nice to have a clean oven, stove, a fridge and a washing machine that works.”

Charisse is a mother with multiple needs, underlying health issues and debts. Her gas was cut off and when she sought help via a referral partner, the RSS team ensured she received the practical help and support she needed, including a temporary hob, new furniture, extra community support and signposting to help with managing her debts from Islington People's Rights.


Notes to editor

The Islington Resident Support Scheme made awards totalling £20,571,000 in the 10 financial years from 2013/14 to 2022/23

The RSS is for residents who need help but are unable to access that support from elsewhere. Help is available for those on low-income means-tested benefits.

Residents can only access the RSS through local partner organisations, including housing associations, council services such as housing, adult social services and children’s services, or local charities including Citizens Advice Islington, Age UK Islington, Help On Your Doorstep and Islington Law Centre, among others.

RSS grants are split into four categories:

  • Crisis provision, which includes vouchers to buy food, fuel and, exceptionally, clothing (for those fleeing domestic violence or in case of a disaster like a flood or fire) when, for a limited period, money is not coming in;
  • Community Care grants, for vulnerable residents who are starting afresh in the community (leaving care, prison, hospital etc.), or setting up home for the first time and have nothing;
  • Council Tax Support, to help residents who are experiencing exceptional short-term problems paying their council tax, including council tax debt, and;
  • Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), to provide short-term support for housing costs, i.e. to meet any shortfall in rent (like bedroom tax), help to cover rent in advance, and rent deposits and removal costs for vulnerable residents, to meet the costs of purchasing or replacing essential household items.

If you, or anyone you know, is in need of additional support, please see a full list of referral partners at and get in touch with one local to you.

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.