While the majority of claimants would be able to learn how to manage some aspects of their claims, aspects the workshops would focus on, there will always be some who will need support, even with those aspects.
As part of the project we hope to be running in the future, we would recruit a team of volunteer “Peer Navigators”; service users who can give those individuals the support they need to manage their claims.
We hope to recruit these volunteers from our past and present clientele, as we would want them to use their own lived experience of mental illness, experience of being on benefits and their knowledge of the ethos and principles, at the heart of our organisation, to support the most vulnerable in the mental health community.
We would also want to involve these volunteers in delivering training to organisations so their staff can support their service users to make and maintain claims. We work with many services whose staff are responsible, and who are funded, to help the service users with the benefits but they do not have the training. These workshops would be funded by the organisations to help fund Hear Us. We know of organisations that come to us to support their service users,
We would also hope that the experience of volunteering as “Peer Navigators” would help them to grow and we would support them with this growth and help them, as best we can, to work towards any goals they may hope to achieve from volunteering for this role.
We would also continue to provide support to clients with complex cases, and Tribunals.
With the recognition of this need for a proactive approach to the issue of welfare benefits and a determination to deliver education to service users we can build a more resilient community as well as directly supporting those in need.
We also expect that we will need a part time Community Relations Project Worker to liase with statutory and other voluntary sector staff to ensure that services for financial support are improved across the statutory and voluntary sectors in Croydon.
To continue to provide a comprehensive welfare benefits service for people with complex needs AND support people to take control of their own benefits and financial situation, we estimate we need approximately £93,000 per year for the next three years. This would be made up of £89,758 in year 1, £92,450 in year 2 and £95,224 in year 3. This will ensure we support 255 people across Croydon, through the involvement of 5 volunteers and 2 full time and 1 part time (at 18.5 hours per week) staff.
We would like to deliver the following outputs over the next 12 months: