Cathedral Reverend Sarah Murray highlights growing pressure to choose between eating or heating

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Blankets and hot water bottles were distributed to families facing increasing pressure to choose between heating or feeding.

Inverness Cathedral’s inSpire outreach project, which offers help to families in need, has set up a bank of blankets and hot water bottles as “a small way” to help tackle the problem.

The project’s work has been highlighted as church leaders in Scotland have joined forces to voice their deep concerns about the plight of low-income families amid the cost of living crisis.

Inverness Cathedral Provost Sarah Murray said inSpire also offers a winter jacket bank, emergency food bank, school uniform bank and school holiday lunches.

“Last winter, we were aware of the growing pressure to choose to ‘heat or eat’, and so we offered fleece blankets and hot water bottles as a small way to help solve this problem,” he said. she declared.

“So far, we have distributed over 100 blankets and hot water bottles.

“Over the past two years, we have seen an increase in the factors affecting families in our region, from the pressure of Universal Credit to the furlough scheme and the end of the scheme, to the rising cost of living. .

InSpire distributed warm jackets and blankets.
InSpire distributed warm jackets and blankets.

“We pray that in due time the need for these banks will diminish, as an increase in line with the cost of living on salaries and benefits may begin to ease the burden and pressure on families.

“Until that happens, we will continue to support our community in any way we can to alleviate some of this pressure and to respond to the gospel imperative to ‘love our neighbour’.

So far, inSpire has helped more than 5,000 people access help for their children through community and congregational donations and grants.

The project and its banks are available for people to pick up items on a weekly basis.

“We receive inquiries from various organizations, such as Home Start and many local schools as well as self-referrals,” said the Most Reverend Murray. “There are no questions asked or forms to fill out to access this help.

Rev. Sarah Murray.  Pictured: James Mackenzie.
Rev. Sarah Murray. Pictured: James Mackenzie.

“We felt it was important to keep forms and questions to a bare minimum, knowing that many have many forms to fill out to access help.”

Church leaders in Scotland raised concerns this week about the impact of rising energy bills on low-income families.

The Very Reverend Mark Strange of Moray, Ross and Caithness, who is the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, signed a joint statement with Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, and Rt Rev Hugh Gilbert, President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Scotland urge the British and Scottish governments to put aside their political differences and tackle the cost of living crisis together.

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