The Rotherham Council created a welfare programme that partners with other organisations in the district. This was done in an effort to help as many residents as possible. Whether it is free food from the Trussell Trust or an interest free loan for paying bills from Laser Credit, there is help for families that are in a crisis. Aid is offered both by the local authorities or external parties.
The application process is run by the council as well as the credit union. They will make a determination of who can be assisted, and whether a grant or loan is issued for paying approved bills. Any type of support from the scheme is at their discretion. Many people will not be eligible, either due to their income or the money allocated to welfare runs out. But those individuals will still be referred to other organisations in the district.
Applicants to Funds for Change need to be on a low income and also under exceptional financial pressure. Many applicants do not have food or their electricity is in danger of being shut off. There is help for vulnerable people who were in urgent need as well as assistance for individuals who need to remain or resettle in the community. One of the eligibility criteria will be that a priority is on individuals that are local to Rotherham that receive benefits. Or that are eligible for them.
Assistance provided from Funds for Change
If the council finds the applicant to be eligible, there will be three forms of financial aid provided. They are noted below. Also, since the Laser Credit Union is a key partner, they will also complete a financial assessment to see if someone is eligible for a loan or other support.
The Furniture Solutions Team will focus on people that are resettling to the area. Or there is help provided to keep them living independently in Rotherham. The family may be provided with furniture or other items, such as bedding or white goods. Bridging Support is also offered by this team, and this is when they will refer a homeless person or prospective tenant to rent deposit schemes if they need cash for a new home.
Funds for Change will also pay out interest free loans. The council will only approve certain household expenses to be paid, such as heating or fuel bills. Also, if this is the form of aid provided, an application will also need to be assessed by Laser Credit Union. The client will also need to agree to a repayment plan. If a resident is not qualified for this scheme, then they can still apply for other personal loans.
Some applications may be given pre-paid cards to be used for small emergency payments. This is for addressing a safety risk. The grants may cover expenses ranging from utilities to food or local transportation. This form of aid is also closely monitored for fraud and abuse by the Rotherham Council.
People should note the emergency payments are hard to get. They will also only pay for a portion of a bill that is due. In some cases the council has only issued £120. So the balance of any expenses needs to be paid by the family.
Any type of referrals from the Funds for Change scheme will be called Bridging Support. Welfare money has been provided to local agencies that may be able to better help a vulnerable Rotherham family.
Financial assistance from the Rotherham will depend on funds being available from the central government. With many cutbacks occurring, and the increased number of claims, the assistance for the low income is limited. It may be even more challenging to get help during the winter for expenses such as heating bills as there are often more requests for help from Funds for Change during those months. For more information, the council or credit union can be reached at 01709 336000.