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'Safe Hands'

Emergency & Resilience Assistance For Elders During the Cost of Living Crisis

The Cost of Living crisis has impacted all of our communities this winter. Discussions with our service users tell us that African Caribbean heritage households* have been heavily affected and our elders in particular have been adversely impacted. National research has shown that Black households are up to four times more likely than others to be living in food insecurity.

This is a massive issue for elders who may be isolated, less well connected or not plugged in to local networks and therefore vulnerable to suffering alone or in silence. Many are unaware of local and Government schemes and initiatives, and others are put off from applying by the perceived complexity of filling in forms, providing paperwork and answering questions. And there is also a stigma around proud independent people asking for help and accepting assistance.

With our targeted ‘Safe Hands’ project AHPN has partnered with Independent Age and others to ensure that Black elders and others in need receive funds, assistance, and support this winter. We will work primarily via Black grass roots projects who are already part of our AHPN Network, but we will also be making some emergency direct grants to individuals where we perceive this to be necessary. We may also consider referrals from some community based organisations whom we have not worked with before.

For as long as the Cost of Living Crisis continues to bite AHPN will also offering community based interventions to lessen the impact of the crisis. A Cost of Living expert and trained volunteers will be organising sessions and providing advice on:

  • How and where to claim additional assistance

  • Telephone and online support

  • In person peer support activities

*AHPN uses the term African Caribbean heritage to refer to those who are African or of African descent and who identify as Black, whether they be African, African Caribbean, of dual heritage or Black British.


With this programme of assistance we are prioritising elders (those aged 60 and over) and who are in need of emergency support or financial assistance during this winter’s Cost of Living Crisis.

Priority will be given to those:

  • Over 60 years of age

  • Living with long term health conditions such as HIV, Sickle Cell Anaemia, Mental Wellbeing issues and other long-term conditions

  • Those seeking Asylum or Refuge and caught within the procedural and legal process which means that they have no recourse to funds and are prevented from working

  • Those elders living alone and in isolation without supporting family or networks, perhaps with no (or only the most basic) state pension

Who can apply

You can apply/make a referral to AHPN for support on behalf of a service user if:

  • You are a Black majority** Community Based Organisation working on behalf of Black service users who are living with health conditions or in isolation.

NB: AHPN recognises that grassroots community-based organisations are often staffed and run by individuals from the community and we realise that staff and volunteers are sometimes just as likely to be in need of cost of living support.

**AHPN uses the term Black majority CBO to refer to those organisations who are led by staff groups and Boards of Trustees over 50% of whom self-identify as Black, and over 50% of whose beneficiaries identify as Black.


*** We would prefer to receive applications via referrers. However lone individuals unsupported by a project can apply on behalf of themselves. They should email  We will place you with an AHPN Safe Hands Champion who will assist you and act as your referrer.

What will the fund support

AHPN’s Safe Hands Support Fund will provide assistance with:

  • Financial Support -  Emergency household fuel and utility payments; fuel key payments; funeral costs, moving costs

  • Home Essentials -  Emergency purchase/replacement of household white goods, furnishings and appliances,  eg Cooker, fridge, microwave, heaters, furniture etc

  • Digital Connection -  Emergency connectivity issues eg  phone credits. Anything to help older people get online and stay connected and can be used towards the cost of equipment such as tablets and smartphones as well as broadband and data costs..

  • Essential Living Costs - Emergency household food and supermarket shopping; everyday expenses including clothing, food, medicines, books, travel to medical appointments or other activities

  • Emergency light building works eg mould removal/provision of dehumidifier

  • Emergency Health Issues eg dental, optician, hearing, pharmacy, medicines sanitary  items

How will the Fund Work?

The support fund will remain open until funds are exhausted. Black majority led Community based organisations acting as referral agents for service users can apply via the application portal.

Application will be by registration and completion of the simple single page application on the portal. Please fill this out as fully as possible.

Following submission of your completed application you will be contacted by a member of AHPN and given a decision on the status of your application you have made on behalf of your beneficiary.

All decisions will be made by an AHPN Investment Panel comprising community representatives and Trustees. The decisions of the Investment Panel will be final. Given the likely high demand for support decisions will, for the most part, be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Costs already incurred or items already purchased are not eligible for retrospective payment.

Support claims may be limited to three per referring organisation/ project and one claim per recipient household.

Following a successfully approved claim one of several courses of action may take place regarding payment options. As support payments are made at the point of approval AHPN needs to know payment details as part of the application process – this includes Account name, Account number and sort code.

Our preference is to make support grant payments via bacs to:

  • Your client (the grant recipient) -, this is our preferred option

  • You, the referral agency, to pass on to your beneficiary as appropriate

Please attach a copy of the quote, estimate or bill with your application. Links to items online, scans or photographs are acceptable.

How to apply

To apply:

If you are a community based project making an application for support on behalf of a project beneficiary:

  • Please read our Safe Hands FAQs

  • Click on the link here to register and make a referral

  • Complete the simple application form (be sure to complete all fields)

  • Attach any supporting documentation/ estimates/ pictures

  • Submit the completed application (a copy will be returned to you by email for your records)

SAFE HANDS - Keeping warm/keeping healthy/ keeping connected/ keeping going.

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