THE CITIZENS Advice outreach service supporting Stratford residents in crisis situations will continue its vital work thanks to a joint £10,000 cash boost.
The ‘Reach Out and Help’ service – which takes advice to people in the district who would otherwise find it difficult to access help – has received the funding from Warwickshire County Council, and Stratford District Council.
Around three-quarters of people helped by the service have a disability, or long term health condition.Many also have multiple complex needs often including a shortage of income, food or essentials such as bedding and cookers.
The service has been forced to adapt to the current Covid-19 pandemic, and although the team is not currently visiting people in their homes, it is continuing to help people in crisis remotely.
During lockdown, the team has assisted more than double the number of people compared to last year needing help with employment issues, such as accessing benefits.
The project has been running successfully for five years, assisting more than 30 people from Stratford district each month.
But due to the pandemic, a bid for funding to continue the project has been put on hold for at least six months. The funding from the county and district councils will contribute towards the shortfall.
Yvonne Hunter, chair of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire (CASW) said: “As a local charity, we are incredibly grateful to both Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council who have kindly made a grant to continue our much needed crisis support project, at this very difficult time.
“Our advisers have responded to a 104 per cent increase in employment issues and 80 per cent increase in Universal Credit issues, during lockdown, compared to the same period last year.
“People are really struggling in this district and need our expert advice, advocacy and support.”
District people spokeswoman Coun Jo Barker said: the district council had supported CASW for many years.
She added: “This project and CASW are key to our local efforts to help residents recover from the wider impacts of the coronavirus and are glad this funding support will secure the continuation of the valued Reach Out and Help work.”
County spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms added she was pleased the funding would enable the project to continue.
She said: “We are delighted to be able to support this vital work assisting the most vulnerable in our community, particularly at this time of great difficulty for so many people.”
for more information about ‘Reach Out and Help’.