Zakat Expert

NZF and Centre for London join forces during London Challenge Poverty Week to discuss community-powered solutions for the cost-of-living crisis.

A group of anti-poverty campaigners from across London – including councillors, representatives from faith groups, and experts from charities – recently came together at a Centre for London private roundtable event to discuss the role of the community in tackling rising poverty in the capital. 

The event was one of many which took place earlier this month during London Challenge Poverty Week. Dr Sohail Hanif, the Chief Executive of National Zakat Foundation (NZF), talked in depth about NZF’s efforts in helping the Muslim community rise above the growing costing-of-living crisis, giving a detailed insight into the picture across London. 

The theme of the discussion was centred around the importance of communities helping each other as well as the need for more neighbourhood initiatives which offer support to those in need, without judgement.   

As one attendee said, “support by local people, for local people is vital. It helps build solidarity, and it meets needs directly.” Another guest pointed out that “during Covid, we helped people out next door, not at the other end of the country.”  

During the discussion, it was also noted that there is around £15billion worth of unclaimed benefits each year, which could go a long way in helping those most in need.  

Some fantastic examples of effective outreach were also shared by the organisations present, such as Housing Associations sending text messages automatically if a payment is missed and arranging home visits for older or disabled tenants. As one attendee powerfully said, “we all have a piece of the puzzle”. 

Participants also discussed many ideas regarding how organisations could collaborate together more effectively, with many stating the importance of being able to connect the people they helped every day to other organisations for additional support. 

Dr Hanif said, “it was exciting to hear from so many organisations keen to work with us and partners across London. There are very tough times ahead and the more communities come together to help each other out, the more effective we will be.” 

London Challenge Poverty Week is open to all who share the aim of bringing about a poverty free London, where everyone is treated with equal respect and dignity.