Helping families with a local connection to Manchester that are facing a crisis, the Welfare Fund was a local scheme created to assist the vulnerable. A combination of loans, pre-paid cards, vouchers, or grants are provided for the payment of heating bills to prevent homelessness. The scheme will also provide free food to individuals on a low income in the city. There may be other forms of assistance provided as well, such as for a deposit, but it is rare.
The funds from the scheme are limited and many families are applying for help. So there are many criteria in place and the council will need to prioritise certain applications. Due to this, providing food, meals, clothing, and energy bills are a priority. Some of the main eligibility criteria and uses of funds are as follows, however the council can change them at any time.
- The Welfare Fund is for people in a crisis or that are in need and maybe facing a health issue or physical disability.
- The aim of the funds is to prevent homelessness and keep families together, and this includes both singles and couples with children.
- Grants are for people in extreme poverty and had a reduction in benefits and that meet other criteria.
- A priority is also on heating bills during the winter. This can be to help families in Manchester that are facing a disconnection of their utilities.
- Only essential needs will be met by the scheme as funding is limited.
- Providing food to individuals, families, children, and single moms is also another priority of the welfare fund.
- In some cases, the scheme may provided transportation to employment for up to four weeks, and a pass is issued for this.
These welfare grants are a last resort, so people need to have applied for other benefits or charity programmes first, and this is also true for residents that are vulnerable. While many do not have food and are facing a crisis, there are other schemes in Manchester that people need to explore too.
As an example, there is help from fuel providers for those facing poverty during the winter or that have had their heat disconnected, and applicants need to have looked into those options or food banks first. So the welfare scheme the last option.
When applying, the person needs to have a local connection to Manchester, have no savings, and have had a reduction in their government benefits. Or their may be aid for people on Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support, or maybe a pension. The family also need to be working towards independent living and also remain in their current home in order to be eligible for the scheme.
The Welfare Fund Scheme has a priority for paying fuel bills, and applicants will be issued a grant for the arrears on their account. At most, only £50 will be provided, so it will not pay for an entire bill. However members of the council, or a partner such as CAB, will also try to enroll the customer into a payment plan with their provider to help lower any arrears they have on the account. There may also be funds to for the payment to stop an disconnection or provide for emergency fuel purchase.
Food is also a priority. In some cases, white goods are also provided as part of the Manchester Welfare Fund. The council also partners with churches as well as food banks, such as the Trussel Trust, to help people that are facing a crisis. Some of the other household items may be cookers, fridge’s, hygiene items, or vouchers for furniture. There will not be cash provided to the family, but instead a pre-paid card is used or some form of voucher.
While keeping the family together is another aim of the scheme, funds for paying a rent deposit or arrears are not commonly provided. Instead, the Manchester council will refer a resident to other charities for housing assistance, and there are many solutions available for the homeless and tenants. Find more details on schemes that can help with deposits.
Also due to limited funding, in many cases the council will issue a low interest loan to the resident. The specialists that run the Welfare Fund Scheme partner with the Manchester Credit Union to issue money to clients, and it can also be used for food or a fuel bill. So the applicant will need to repay the money they were provided.
The Welfare Scheme can help when facing a crisis. To learn more on the funds provided or how to get food, call 0161 234 5000. Applications can also be completed at Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, which is the main council office.