People that are local to the Peterborough Council area and that are facing a financial hardship can apply for help from the Community Assistance Scheme. The government programme provides many forms of support to families, ranging from grants for paying bills to advice and signposting.
The welfare scheme was created to provide both emergency support as well as advice to help the resident address the cause of the crisis. The council takes a holistic approach to support the family with whatever needs they may have. Whether it is a voucher to a local food bank or a pre-paid card for paying fuel bills, support is available. They also partner with agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Aspire Drug Treatment Service, and others.
Basic needs from PCAS
The aim is to provide this support as quickly as possible. Cash assistance is usually not provided in Peterborough, but rather the council will offer either a pre-paid card or they offer help by giving the resident the item they need for their home.
Food assistance is available. This will help those families that are struggling to feed their family and that are threatened with an emergency. The council may give them a parcel of groceries, or signpost the client to a local food bank in Cambridgeshire.
Furniture and basic needs are also provided by the Peterborough Community Assistance Scheme. A voucher will be provided so the family can shop at a charity store. Or the council will deliver the item, such as bed, fridge, crib for a baby, or white goods to the home.
Emergency lighting and heating bill assistance is available in the form of a pre-paid card. It will help the household keep their energy on while the obtain long term support. This welfare programme will give priority to a senior citizen or disabled resident, as the council wants to keep their heat on.
Other agencies that people can call upon in Cambridgeshire or the immediate Peterborough area for support include the following. They are all key members of the Community Assistance Scheme. Ring the Peterborough City Council (telephone 01733 747474), Drinksense (ring 01733 555532), British Red Cross (phone 01733 557472), Aspire Drug Treatment Service (telephone 0800 1114354), or Women’s Aid (dial 01733 894455).
When it comes to applying for financial aid, the applicant needs to be on means tested benefits and over the age of 16. They also need to be in a crisis with limited income or savings. The council will verify the application as well, using tax records and other means. If someone is not eligible for financial aid from the Community Assistance Scheme (PCAS), they can ring the Department for Work and Pensions at 0845 6088603 for information on budgeting loans.
Long term support
The authorities in Peterborough want to help the person avoid a similar problem in the future. So they provide free debt advice and information on job training. Some residents just need information on what they should be doing on expenses such as loans they have, credit card or rent arrears, and PCAS can arrange this.
Anyone can seek this advice from the local authorities. This is not as limited as say a voucher from PCAS for the bills above. So any family that needs information can use this service to address a cause of why they are struggling.
This advice service is run from partners such as Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). The local office for the borough is at 16-17 St Marks Street, Peterborough, PE1 2TU. While the council can signpost a person to the office, anyone can drop in if they make an appointment. The phone umber is 0844 4994120.