Almost £350,00 has been granted to partnership agencies in the borough from the Big Lottery Fund which will help people affected by welfare reform changes
North Tyneside Council supported the partnership’s successful bid, which will provide borough residents with additional advice and support in relation to the benefit changes.
It includes providing access to specialist benefit advisers, offering training for voluntary organisations who will have direct contact with people impacted by the changes and self-help materials to guide people through the reforms.
The project will particularly focus on how the welfare reforms affect disabled people and will seek to address their concerns around the changes.
Mark Almond, Director at North Tyneside Citizens Advice Bureau said: “This grant will help partners work smarter, to provide important support on complex benefit changes.
“The Welfare Reforms will affect many people, particularly, low income households.
“We want to help people affected, to know where they stand and what options are available to them.
“This grant will help us do that.”
North Tyneside Citizens Advice Bureau will establish new pathways to advice services in the area by increasing collaborative working, training and volunteering opportunities, skills sharing, self help materials and a common referral system. This approach will improve organisational efficiencies and effectiveness and an improved, sustainable service to clients and will benefit an additional 3000 people.
It will also improve the quality of support in particular to those with impaired sight, hearing and mobility. Coun Ray Glindon, North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance added: “We recognise that many of our residents are facing tough time and have been affected by the welfare reform changes.
“And we recognise that by working together across a partnership we can increase the support available for the people facing the challenges of these reforms.
“This funding will support additional activity across a number of organisations all focused on helping North Tyneside residents.
The partnership consists of North Tyneside Citizens Advice Bureau, North Tyneside Age UK and North Tyneside Coalition of Disabled People.
Ian McKee, Development Manager from North Tyneside Coalition of Disabled People, stated “welfare reform and benefit changes will have a considerable impact on many disabled people.
“This grant will go some way to provide additional resources to already over stretched services.
“North Tyneside Coalition of Disabled People welcome the opportunity to extend their assistance in supporting disabled people in North Tyneside with this partnership approach.
Alma Caldwell, Chief Executive, Age UK North Tyneside said by working in partnership we will ensure we get the right help, support and guidance to more people and those who need it most.