Overall, our key outcome will be that vulnerable clients will go on to lead more fulfilling lives in their local communities, as they maintain their mental health (even during chaotic circumstances) as they are more able, with the right safety net, to apply for and maintain their own benefit claims. Our intervention will help prevent people from ending up in arrears which can put them at risk of eviction and homelessness. Not having the support to deal with these issues can lead to a decline in a vulnerable person’s mental health which could lead to a costly hospital admission or worse; self harm and suicide.
Addressing and resolving immediate financial distress:
By providing food tickets, for food banks, and helping clients to make applications to discretionary schemes, such as Croydon’s Discretionary Scheme and Discretionary Housing Payments, we have helped those in immediate financial distress to; put food on the table, turn the lights on and keep their homes warm.
Increased Social Inclusion within the mental health community:
Through access to Motability schemes, we have helped clients, who have previously been limited by their mental and physical health problems, to engage with the community and access activities that were previously out of reach for them. We have informed many of the opportunities available to them, in the community, and made referrals to help them to access those opportunities.
Improving their financial security by giving them fairer access to welfare benefits:
We helped our clients to become more financially secure, by helping them to maximise their income by supporting them to make applications to benefits that they were previously unaware. We also helped our clients to challenge negative benefit decisions, often caused by a lack of understanding of mental illness on the part of the DWP or by a system that is unfairly weighted against people with mental health difficulties.
We have been able to tackle this issue, for our clients, in two ways; Firstly, we have supported our clients to access services dedicated to helping individuals with their debt through referrals and, when necessary, helping clients to make phone calls and access online debt advice.
Secondly, of those who come to us in debt, many are in a negative spiral being unable to make repayments and having to take out loans plunging them into further debt. By working to maximise our client’s income we have helped those in debt to head in a positive direction, in respect of their debt, by enabling them to make repayments and work towards clearing their debt.
Gaining knowledge and experience that has helped us to influence national campaigns for a fairer benefits system as well as helping us campaign locally.