The Citizens Advice Bureaus in Runnymede and Spelthorne processes applications to provide financial help from the Local Assistance Scheme. This is the welfare programme in the borough that provides emergency financial support or free goods in kind. The scheme will only provide help when all other resources are unavailable to the family.
The type of aid from the Local Assistance Scheme will depend on the applicants circumstance. The CAB centre will go through a process in determining the support given. It will normally start with counseling as well as advice and works up to financial assistance for energy bills or other critical living expenses as a last resort. More information is below.
First and foremost, the aim of Citizens Advice as well as the council is to keep a family that is local to Runnymede or Spelthorne “safe”. This term of safe can mean many things to different people. Some applicants may need food and others white goods, household goods or furniture for their home, such as bedding. Other people in the boroughs can be made safe if their heat or electricity bills are paid and kept connected. So no two applications are assessed the same way.
Any support from the Runnymede and Spelthorne Local Assistance Scheme is provided at the discretion of the council, partnering with CAB. With many councils receiving less money to pay for welfare, it can be hard to meet the needs of people in a crisis. Therefore if the Citizens Advice Bureau can’t assist, they may signpost the client to other local charities or even long term term. This may allow the family to address on going needs, such as housing payments, food, health-care and more.
The Local Assistance Scheme (LAS) will also help people set up a home or flat in the area as well. This can benefit the elderly living an institution, refugees, or the homeless among others. The welfare scheme will in these cases provide everything from furniture to a grant to pay electricity deposits or help with light bills. Other households goods can be provided by CAB in Runnymede or Spelthorne as well.
LAS does have a number of criteria that need to be met. It is a last resort, so in order to get a grant from the Runnymede and Spelthorne Local Assistance Scheme, applicants need to know the following.
First, they should try a charity for a voucher or grant for paying their bills, as there are not for profit organisations in the borough that assist. They may offer housing, free food parcels, and emergency transportation. The CAB office will need proof of this.
Second, Citizens Advice wants the family to go through budgeting as well as counseling first. This is often a solution that is effective. This is more important since financial help from LAS is very limited. So an advisor may assist with debts, employment, or other needs before a grant is even considered.
Third, anyone that needs cash, but that is on benefits such as Universal Credit, needs to drop in at a Jobcentre Plus office in Runnymede. There may be a Short Term Benefit Advance or budgeting loan given to them to pay any bills. The advisors from the Jobcentre office or Department for Work and Pensions can provide more information.
Lastly, applicants need to be local to Spelthorne or Runnymede, or they need to prove intention to resettle there. They also need to be on a low income, be receiving a means-tested benefit, and have limited money saved.
To apply, the Runnymede and Spelthorne district is supported by the Citizens Advice Bureau in Redhill. The post is 24 Cromwell Roas, Redhill RH1 1RT. For applications or information, ring the office at 03444 111 444.