Over 1,000 vulnerable people in Tower Hamlets will get help accessing benefits and managing their money thanks to new funding for a community charity.
The Limehouse Project says many residents, particularly those who lack English or IT skills, struggle to claim Universal Credit, at a time when the financial impact of Covid-19 means they need help more than ever.
The charity will provide advice and support to help people access benefits, manage debt and avoid falling into rent arrears, as well as offering basic IT training and money management workshops.
The scheme has been made possible thanks to a grant of £117,000 over three years from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:“In today’s high-tech society it’s easy to forget that not everyone has access to the internet or basic IT skills, and for many people, tasks such as applying for benefits can be a very daunting process.
“This project will help the most vulnerable people in society and ensure they can access the benefits they’re entitled to – which is more important than ever given the financial impact coronavirus has had on so many people.”
The City Bridge Trust grant will enable the employment of a new full-time Universal Credit support worker to help people with the online-only process of applying for and maintaining a benefit claim.
The Limehouse Project says the switch from so-called legacy benefits such as Jobseekers’ Allowance and Housing Benefit and the financial impact of Covid-19 has left an increasing number of residents in financial difficulty.
Farida Yesmin, Limehouse Project CEO, said:“The switch to Universal Credit has had a major impact on some families, particularly on single parents and large families who have lost out financially, and we have seen some people in a really desperate situation, having to rely on food banks to support their children.
“The support we will be able to offer as a result of this funding will have huge benefits on people’s financial and mental health, and will enable us to give them skills such as budgeting, managing money and basic IT which can last them a lifetime.”