With the reduction in benefits that many Salford residents are faced with, the Discretionary Support Scheme can assist low income families with basic needs. Any assistance from the council as part of SDSS is provided as a last resort to individuals faced with exception circumstances. This was created using government money, and the council also partnered with local credit unions and charity organisations on the creation of the scheme. However the council makes the final assessment on who to give assistance too.
The scheme can address a number of needs, and they include assistance for certain travel costs to food for households and even furniture. Much more is provided too, and if the council can help, or if the applicant is not qualified, then referrals may be provided to other Salford charity organisations.
Eligibility conditions for the SDSS scheme
It is short term assistance only, and this Support Scheme is not for individuals that repeatedly need assistance. However those people facing ongoing poverty may be referred to other programmes in the area. The aim of the council is to assist those facing a disaster, that need food to prevent hunger or that have a crisis. They also need to be over the age of 16, have proof of income as well as savings, and have a local connection to Salford.
Even if someone is faced with a crisis and meets the eligibility conditions, the Salford Discretionary Support Scheme and the awards from it are limited and made at the council’s discretion. There may be an assessment done of each request, and some people will be referred to other programs in lieu of this scheme.
Help that may be provided by the support scheme is the following. Furniture including bedding is often used by the homeless for a new home. Food parcels, including for babies, are provided too. For those seeking a job, the council may assist with travel costs, and other assistance is provided for heating or fuel bill arrears.
The amount of money the council has received from the government has been reduced, so less people will be able to receive help from Discretionary Support Scheme. While the intent of the government was to let the council run their own welfare programme in lieu of the Social Fund Crisis Loan payments and Community Care Grants, there just is not as much money available as there was in the past.
Applicants and even individuals that are not given an award can look into other help though, and that can be affordable loans from the credit unions, vouchers to a local foodbank, and as noted above the council also partners with other charities such as Citizens Advice Bureau.
The council has established a team to review and assess applications for SDSS. They are located at Unity House, Salford Civic Centre, Chorley Road, Swinton, M27 5AW, and the telephone is 0161 607 1626. Gatwat centres can also accept the applications, and they are located at Eccles, Pendleton and Walkden. Not only can people apply for the Discretionary Support Scheme, but the council has information on other programmes too, such as resettlement grants and others.