We want to continue providing a Welfare Surgery Project to people with complex needs to ensure that they are able to obtain the essential financial support required to tackle poverty and homelessness and support people to recover from mental illness.
We wish to support the mental health community to be more confident in managing their own benefits and more resilient in coping with systems changes by continuing to support those who have complex needs or are unable to cope with the benefits system.
We want to continue our partnership work with other organisations to deliver support for mental health vulnerable people in Croydon to ensure they obtain their fair financial entitlements and help to poverty and homelessness.
Historically we have only offered a ‘hand holding’ service that gave support during an individual’s time of need. However the project has seen many of these individuals return to us for support when their claims are reviewed and reassessed and we have learnt that helping an individual at their time of need isn’t sufficient. We realised that in order to create a longer lasting impact, we also need to empower and educate Service Users to take control of large aspects of their claims. These aspects are already within most Service User’s reach, a PIP form asks questions about someone’s health rather than being a ‘benefits exam’, but a lack of confidence and fear leaves them feeling as though any aspect of benefits is too complicated for a non-welfare professional to understand.
Through these workshops Service users will gain the skills and confidence to manage their Benefits and gain better awareness of welfare benefit issues and improved ability to self-manage their finances. This lead to a reduction in anxiety and depression, and will allow service users to regain self-respect and stay well.
Fewer people will end up with rent arrears leading to eviction and homelessness. When vulnerable people lose their homes and have to be placed for months or even years in B & B accommodation, mental health declines and dependence on services increases. Lack of housing or suitable accommodation delays discharge from hospital. This will lead to fewer emergency hospital admissions and GP visits
In the short term; a reduction in the number of people experiencing immediate financial distress, with an increased awareness of how to access food banks, emergency clothing and utilities. But in the long term; greater financial security will lead to a reduction in the number of people dependant on food banks and forced to take out budgeting and social security loans (or worse, high interest pay day loans).
Fewer service users will suffer relapses (including self-harm and suicide) requiring hospital admission or lengthy input from secondary mental health services and many will go on to lead more fulfilling lives in their local community benefiting both their mental and physical health and face less social isolation – people will feel empowered to play an active role in their communities, through participation in sports, hobbies, voluntary work and paid employment. Our project arms people with an in depth knowledge of opportunities available in the borough, the financial stability to engage in activities and access to transport.