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Drop-in session to help reduce benefit sanctions

A drop-in event is being held to help give advice to benefit claimants who could be affected by sanctions.

North Tyneside Council has joined with Meadow Well Connected to host the event at The Meadows Community Centre, Waterville Road, North Shields, on Monday, December 16.

A range of organisations are joining together to hold an advice session for residents who could unwittingly find themselves subject to sanctions by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Paula McCormack, chief officer at Meadow Well Connected, said: “We want to help jobseekers understand what their Jobseekers Agreement actually commits them to – the job search activities they have to undertake, the evidence they need to be able to provide of this and the consequences if they don’t.

“Generally speaking, the first they will learn of the sanction is when their usual payment doesn’t arrive. At this point they are faced with the immediate crisis of not knowing how to pay their bills, or how to feed their family.

“We want to make sure residents know how to prevent this happening in the first place, and that there are a range of local organisations that will help if they find themselves in this situation.”

Anyone is welcome to call in during the session, which runs from 10am to 4pm.

Information will also be available on when and how decisions can be challenged; and the support available to help people manage when a sanction is applied.

Organisations taking part include the Citizens Advice Bureau, local Credit Unions, the BAY Foodbank, Project Answer, the Carers’ Centre, Learn Direct, the Adult Learning Alliance and the Business Factory.

Advice on alternatives to job seeking, such as training opportunities or courses, will also be on offer on the day, as will financial advice and help to improve digital skills.

 

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