Council to Enhance Welfare Scheme
A scheme providing struggling South Tyneside residents with community care and crisis assistance is to get a funding injection it has been announced.
South Tyneside retains a local welfare scheme supporting those most in need at times of crisis. This year the fund will be increased with a proposal to widen eligibility so that more residents can benefit from it
Cllr Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation at South Tyneside Council confirmed additional funding of £200,000 during his budget speech. The scheme supports those most in need across the Borough.
South Tyneside Council's Local Welfare Provision Scheme was introduced in April 2013 to replace the national system of community care grants and crisis loans which had previously been provided by Central Government.
Despite a subsequent loss of specific Government funding, South Tyneside Council maintains the service in order to ease pressures on vulnerable families affected by national welfare reforms or unexpected circumstances. The fund assists 2,300 residents per year.
Councillor Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation, said: "While there is no statutory obligation for the Council to provide such a scheme, we feel it is important to do what we can to ease the pressure on vulnerable families affected by national welfare reforms or unexpected circumstances.
"Due to the withdrawal of Government funding, many local authorities have dropped this provision but we continue to operate a scheme, which enables us to provide at least some support with the limited resources available.
"Increasing the fund helps us to support those most in need in our communities. We will continue to monitor the policy closely so that we can ensure our most vulnerable residents get help when they need it most."
The Local Welfare Provision Scheme is administered by the Borough's Welfare Support Team and provides support to vulnerable residents in difficult circumstances on a non-cash basis.
One resident helped by the service said: "I was pleased with how fast the application process was when applying for goods through the Local Welfare Provision scheme. I thought the service was very fast and I received my items very quickly."
Under the current scheme, residents can get immediate short-term help with essential household goods provision or vouchers following an emergency or disaster, for example, fleeing domestic violence or recovering from a major flooding incident.
It also provides assistance to those seeking community care support with help to resettle or set up home in the community after a period in supported or unsettled accommodation.
Find out more at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/welfaresupport