Community Centre launches welfare advice sessions

Date published: 11 January 2018

A local community centre has launched a ‘welfare advice project’ to provide advice on benefits.

The project came about because Deeplish Community Centre became aware that a number of people were facing difficulty in obtaining proper advice on social, welfare, disability, debt and financial matters, or facing barriers due to language, and lack of professional advice.

Ward councillors, Leader of the Council Councillor Allen Brett, Deputy Mayor Mohammed Zaman and Councillor Sameena Zaheer contacted people and priority groups to address these matters in the local community.

They said: “The purpose of this project is to provide social and welfare advice and support for local residents who suffer due to lack of advice and support on their benefits. The default online approach also causes a number of clients to have difficulty navigating the new system due to lack of language and ICT literacy.”

Councillor Zaheer added: “The project will enable participants to have the opportunity to check their benefits entitlement, support with benefit changes and any welfare advice. Some of the benefits of social interaction and working together on this project are that people will become more knowledgeable and aware of their rights.”

Advice sessions will be provided by experienced advisor Javed Akhtar. A brief assessment will take place at the first appointment.

The welfare advisor said: “We are hoping to reach out to everyone in need of help with regard to their benefits.”

Chairman of Deeplish Community Centre, Mohammed Saleem JP, said: “Through users’ involvement in this pilot project, we will see how we can best expand and develop this project on a more permanent basis for local communities.

“The lack of social welfare advice is now becoming a worrying and common issue for communities, and we see people struggling due to a lack of advice centres offering help and support, especially for members for whom English is not their first language.”

Sohail Ahmad, operations manager at Deeplish Community Centre, said: “We hope to empower participants to claim their entitlements in social welfare rights. This will help us to end social deprivation, promote social cohesion and enable people to live with increased confidence and satisfaction.”

The project will be held at Deeplish Community Centre on a weekly basis through pre-booked appointments every Wednesday.

For more information or to arrange an appointment, call 01706 860151

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