Why Common Change UK?
Life is unpredictable and any of us can be hit by a crisis at any time that may be connected to, for example:
- The loss of employment
- A sudden illness or accident
- A bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship
When these unexpected events bring with them serious financial impact and insecurity they are referred to as ‘income shocks’. Over a quarter of the UK adult population (i.e. 14 million people) will have suffered at least one income shock in the last year. Millions of us have neither ‘rainy day’ savings nor access to family and friends who may offer temporary assistance in such a time of crisis.
Without an adequate social security safety net many people’s last resort is high- cost borrowing in the form of credit cards, payday loans, overdrafts and pawnbrokers. This toxic combination of an unexpected financial challenge arriving suddenly in the absence of protective factors pushes as many as one million people per year into serious problem debt. Recent research in the UK reveals that income shocks are “the key determinant of whether someone falls into problem debt”. This can push people into personal economic isolation and insecurity.
What can we do about it?
We may know of someone in pressing need of support…
- Our neighbour may just need a month’s rent to avoid eviction
- A ‘friend of a friend’ may have be in hardship due to taking time off work to care for an elderly relative
- Someone we know of may need financial support to enable rehousing after escaping a violent relationship
However, we’re not able to respond because on our own we don’t have the financial resources required to make a difference. The result is that we can be left feeling dis-empowered, and inertia sets in, so welcome Common Change UK!
Common Change UK has a goal of eliminating personal economic isolation and insecurity. This approach is a radically ancient response to these sorts of social problems – in fact its inspiration goes back 2000 years. The early church community described in the New Testament included a commitment to hold resources ‘in common’ in such as way that ‘there was no needy person among them’. (Acts 4:34)
In this way Common Change UK groups and individuals are now pooling money with people you know to share with people you care about.