With the aim of replacing the assistance that was provided by the Social Fund, the South Tyneside council created their own Welfare Scheme. Individuals with a local connection can get help from Crisis expenses or the Community care support portion of the scheme. There are goods provided to assist families or individuals that are considered to be vulnerable and that have a financial hardship.
Funds are very limited from the South Tyneside Council. There will not be as many people assisted with this scheme as were covered by the crisis loans or care grants that were part of the Social Fund. The amount of support provided throughout the borough will be much less than was available from the national programmes due mostly to government cutbacks and their effort to end dependencies across the nation. Also, any funds or goods provided are at the discretion of the council, and there is a strict application process.
In addition to the local welfare provision, there are many other benefits and assistance programmes available in South Tyneside as well. Many organisations partner together to help the vulnerable, with priority on those faced with a health or safety emergency. The main services are below.
- The scheme known as extended payments can help people continue to remain on the housing benefits for an additional four weeks.
- Local welfare crisis assistance is for people faced with a health issue. The council can provide applicants with free food, transportation, clothing, and similar needs. Cash will not be provided, but there may be vouchers or other aid.
- Rent payment or council tax assistance is part of the South Tyneside childcare scheme. This will provide applicants with additional funds if the parent’s are working or there is a lone parent.
- Community care grants and other support is provided by the emergency programme. There may be household items such as fridges or furniture distributed. This welfare scheme will also provide referrals to charities for deposit help or assistance for rent in advance payments.
- Referrals are available to other council schemes, such as those that help with rent in advance payments for new private sector housing.
There are various eligibility criteria for all of these support services, including the local welfare provision scheme. In general, any financial aid is only for people with a one-off hardship that are under pressure or facing a safety issue, and resources are limited. Proof of income, the hardship, and other documentation is required by the council, and any support is only for people local to South Tyneside.
All of the information from the applicant will be verified with tax records as well as other organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions. The staff from the South Tyneside will also partner with social worker to ensure that only truly vulnerable people receive help.
In general, no cash is provided by the local welfare scheme, however there may be some funds from the other programmes, such as those administered by charities or solutions such as discretionary housing payments. The council will normally only provide the goods that someone needs, whether food or whatever is needed.
To apply for help, the local welfare provision team at the council office can be reached at 0191 424 6064. Or drop in at the Jarrow Town Hall or South Shields centres for an application. Another option is to stop by a local CAB office, as they also can be a source of information on local not-for-profit and charity organisations.