Jo Kirby - Development Manager: Advice
1. Where the Action Group works – number of households using the Advice service (by geographical area):
2. Income generated: £1,525,978.95
Advice- Short stories capturing what we do and the difference it makes
Life Changing Help
Parent Carer- Jane, came to us for help to complete a Child Disability Payment form. Jane quickly built up a trusting relationship with our adviser and opened up about the pressures she was under, including managing her own health conditions alongside her caring role and not being able to make ends meet. The successful outcome of the benefit application, and a grant to buy a trampoline for her son with additional needs was ‘life changing’ according to Jane.
Jane described the difference our help made to how she felt: ‘ I finally felt heard, and was made to feel like a person who mattered’.
Get it right for people’s money: It has been another successful year for our Advice and Involvement services. Thanks to external funders and the Board prioritising extra investment for these vital services , they have served children, adults and carers in so many vital ways.
Maximising benefit entitlements, hardship funds, 1: 1 support and group support for carers, all ensuring that people are more able to have a better life (especially in a cost-of-Living crisis and a pandemic), through having the income they are entitled too.
Being part of the Carewell partnership has meant our efforts have been joined up, for the benefit of everyone we support.
Maximising the benefits of work: Douglas came to us to find out how taking up a job offer would impact on his money. We talked him through how and when to claim Universal Credit, to maximise his income. Thanks to our advice and help he is £527 better off each month than he would have been. Douglas was doing well in work and had been offered more hours- he asked for advice on how this would affect his money. We were able to let him know that although Universal Credit would reduce, he would be better off overall. This gave Douglas confidence to take on more hours at work
In it for the long haul: An adviser had to follow up a change in circumstances request for 2 years and 8 months before the DWP finally paid the correct benefit to someone we support. He eventually received an additional £95.95 per week and £6782.06 arrears. The DWP acknowledged that their further requests for information were unnecessary and that they had all the information and evidence they needed, from the initial letter provided in 2020.
Added Value: A person we support asked us for help applying for a hardship grant because they didn’t have enough money to live on. We offered a benefit check and found that this person was not receiving the Severe Disability Premium that should have been included in his Employment and Support Allowance claim. Once in payment, the person we support will be £76.40 better off each week.
Quotes about the service/Difference made:
Our family was able to pay for huge electricity and gas bill. We were able to buy food. We will always remember this help and support”
My Adviser made a very intrusive process bearable/easier – Person with support needs
My adviser at every stage of the process treated me with complete respect. It was evident that my adviser worked from a person-centred perspective – I always believed my adviser, was working on my behalf.
Action group was very helpful when I need it the most –
My Adviser went above and beyond. She regularly checked in with me, always checked when it would be convenient to catch up. She has taken us from struggling to get through each month to having a little left over
“My Adviser guided me through additional benefits I could claim and as well as practical support; my Adviser was a rock in helping me remain stable mentally.”
“I no longer need to worry about parking or being able to pay my bills and I can now have part of my life back because of the help my Adviser gave me.”
“My Adviser is very polite, knowledgeable and on top of everything.”
“My Adviser was a godsend; was such a support and a source of comfort - the level of knowledge and attention to detail”
Evaluations: 100% of service users who completed an evaluation were happy or very happy