The Gloucestershire County council created the Reform Offer scheme using government funds, and the aim was to replace the DWP programme that was funded by the central govenrment. It can help residents facing a one-time crisis, and families may be provided food, white goods, furniture, clothing, and basic needs. The average amount awarded is £500, however many applications are refused. The funds are combined with another priority which is on given referrals to people on a low income so they can get long term help for their hardship.
Before applying for the scheme, all other charities and programmes in Gloucestershire need to be explored for financial aid, or people need to go to a foodbank first. Any vouchers or funds from welfare are only as a last resort. The not-for profit known as Auriga Services Ltd partners with the county on ensuring this occurs, and they provide awards to qualified residents.
There are other assistance programmes available if someone is not eligible for welfare. As an example, people that are waiting on their benefits payments from Department for Work and Pensions or Jobcentre Plus may be provided a short term loan or advance from the council. This will be in lieu of any help from the county. Another option that can help in this case is the hardship payment.
In some cases, a budgeting loan is available, and this is for people on Income support; pension, or an Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance. So all of these resources need to be applied to before the Gloucestershire County Local Welfare Reform. As any welfare payments are for residents that have no other access to money or savings.
Funds from Local Welfare Reform Offer
If an award is processed, it can be of crisis support, which is designed to help people with emergency short-term bills such as clothes or food. The other component of the scheme is community care grants, and this can provide for furniture and other similar household needs. In these cases, Gloucestershire County will often provide a voucher or the goods themselves to the family.
The other option is the loans indicated above, and these are also offered to fill the gap while people are waiting on their benefits. In these instances, the money from the loans can be used for paying different bills and living expenses, and it can be for deposits, rent, or even gas bill arrears. There are instances in which Gloucestershire households have used this money to pay for heating costs, but the terms will vary. So this is more flexible form of payment from the council and its partners.
To apply for any of the schemes or loans from the council, people need to call 0330 123 5550. Auriga Services Ltd runs this Welfare Reform Offer for the council in Gloucestershire. Specialists will review all of these solutions and other hardship type programmes, and they may also refer people to debt advice or counselling if that is a better solution.
Any funds are provided at the discretion of the Gloucestershire County council and Auriga Services. If someone is refused, they can contact the council to appeal the decision, but funds are limited and many individuals will not be eligible for assistance.