Network Meeting – “The Cost of Living Crisis”

Tuesday 26th July at 12 noon – “The Cost of Living Crisis”
Network Meeting held at Vine United Reform Church, Riches Road; Ilford IG1 1JH

RFF was delighted that Welfare Manager Jane Smith newly appointed and her colleague Sharon Bashford , interventions and Support (LBR), Anglina Bhambra  and Ruth Musgrave from  Transition Ilford (TTI)  were able to attend our July network on the topic of “Cost of Living Crisis “at first in person network since the pandemic at Vine church, Riches Road, Ilford.  The meeting was chaired by Mohamed Omer, Redbridge Faith Forum Chair and Director of the Muslim Gardens of Peace Cemetery, 40 plus attended.

Due to technical difficulties Jane and Sharon were not able to share their PowerPoint presentation (Welfare Benefits presentation) so the time was used for questions from the floor. Jane and Sharon can give help with completing applications and attendance allowance. They no longer do appeals and tribunals for claims that are turned down but can signpost for appeals. They can’t help with Universal Credit, and they don’t deal with social Care. It was also highlighted that those changes are coming up on Legacy benefits Include working tax credit, this will be a staggered move and individuals should visit DWP website and LBR websites for more information.  They were happy to be contacted if attendees had any benefit related questions.

Anglina Bhambra, Transition Ilford (TTI) helps Ilford to go green and build community. Anglina talked about their new Energy café and the fuel crisis. High energy use in Redbridge is a problem. TTI has trained volunteers to help people manage and reduce bills and save energy at home. Energy cafes will be held fortnightly and start on Saturday August 13 from 2pm-4pm at Ilford Library. They are offering free LED bulbs and radiator foil. They have trained 12 Energy Champions, they will also be running further training for new volunteers, they asked the participants to get in touch with them if they would like to take part.

They are looking for other venues to hold a one off cafe and they are happy to be invited to faith building to hold one off cafes.


Ruth Musgrave, also of Transition Ilford, talked about their Food co-op . They buy Cheaper organic dry food  wholesale with reduced packaging.

Members opt to buy the products and amounts they want. They order every 3-4 months. If you would like to set up a small Food Coop with your neighbours they  could help you to do them at Ruth said the best size for a food co-op is 10 people or less as larger number would mean too much money to handle. 

They also run a number of other food related projects, for example,  a yearly Food Fest, a Forest Garden growing edible  plants  and a project called "Growing Food Growing Friends". All of them encourage people to both grow food and cook healthy and cheap meals.

Other inspiring food related projects are:

Growing edible food on wasteland.  Incredible Edible

Food Coops: Co-operation Towns:

For more information on all Transition Ilford’s  projects check out their website

The Attendees were asked to talked to their neighbours for few minutes and share their thoughts on the topic of ‘Cost of living’ which they shared back with the rest of the group.  These are the


  • Reduce waste and food waste and help others to do so.
  • Share skills
  • Ask “Do I need it?” Advertising tells us we need more than we do.
  • Don’t cook every day.
  • Our time and energy are resources.
  • Exercise to reduce stress.
  • Use less electricity – hot tips
  • Walk and talk…and laugh…and cry Mondays 2.30pm, Valentines Mansion
  • When it’s cold put on more clothes, and use a hot water bottle
  • Save water – you don’t always have to flush the toilet
  • Be mindful of the earth
  • We are responsible for looking after the earth.
  • We have to look after one another, politicians won’t.
  • Prayer: “Almighty, make me a good human being.”
  • Everyone should be able to feel safe.

The chair finished with his thoughts “it is our duty to look after the earth and do our part, be kind to the animals, plants, earth, trees and to every aspect of this world. It is in every religion, this is a central theme, and the cost-of-living crisis is, we all need to look after each other, we cannot rely on politicians it is our duty to look after each other.  We have seen that whenever there is a crisis our faith helps us; we saw that in the pandemic that people of a faith and no faith tried to get-together and look after each other and this is what we should be doing as human beings be kind to each other”.

The chair thanked the Speakers, Rev Sujeeth Kumar, Dulcie, Ruth and Vine church for hosting the network and for the wonderful delicious and ample refreshments.

The next network meeting will be on Tuesday 25th October 2022, topic to be confirmed.