The council in West Sussex created the Local Assistance Network to run the welfare scheme in the county. Government funds are provided to not-for-profit organisations and charities across the area, and these groups provide help to the vulnerable and low income. Depending on the need and the results of an assessment, applicants can get everything from food vouchers to pre-paid cards for energy bills or furniture for a new home. This will be offered from welfare along with long term support and advice.
While the amount of help that may be provided by the network of community groups is small, the aim was to assist families facing a crisis or financial hardship and that have no where else to turn. For example, if a resident of West Sussex does not know where their next meal may come from, a voucher for an emergency box of food can make a big difference to them. Or other household essentials can also be provided using welfare funds, however direct financial aid for bills will not be issued but pre-paid cards may be used as a form of payment to a supplier.
Another key benefit of the Local Assistance Network is they partner with Children and Family Centres, CAB offices, as well as authorities from borough and district councils across West Sussex County to provide long term solutions to the hardship. Social workers will partner with the low income or vulnerable family on job placement, budgeting, and other services.
Local Assistance Network organisations that offer financial assistance
There are many places people can turn to for help ranging from grants from welfare to other advice and support. Families will need to apply for the schemes and meet eligibility, but if that occurs then they can be assisted with their crisis.
Each organisation will process applications and take an assessment. Any funds or even vouchers are only for people local to the area that are on a low income or benefits. Priority is for individuals faced with a health or safety issue, such as homelessness or hunger. Additional priority is also for individuals in West Sussex County that need help remaining living in the community, and this is what may account for grants being used for housing needs or even a heating bill arrears to keep the person from being homeless. However, no cash is provided, and aid is in the form of pre-paid cards and the like.
The Local Assistance Network is made up of the community groups and volunteer organisations below.
- Worthing and Shoreham – The charity that is part of the network is the Worthing Churches Homeless Project. They can refer people to food banks or provide basic needs, such as furniture or information on placement into a shelter. Address is 8 Marine Place, Worthing, BN11 3DN. Call 01903 832929. The centre is open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm, or more Worthing Churches Homeless Projects.
- Horsham Matters runs welfare for residents of Horsham only. The main office is at Micah House, Blatchford Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 5QR. Ring the organisation at 01403 211833.
- Southdown covers all of West Sussex. The centre is open Monday – Friday, and can be called at 01903 867320. Vouchers for local food banks and household items are available as well as signposting to charities.
The agencies above partner with the West Sussex Council on the government welfare scheme. If a location can’t help as funding is limited or if someone is not given an award, then they will signpost the individual to another charity, Citizens Advice Bureau or government agency that is local to them. If those agencies are not helpful, residents can always contact their council.