Horsham District Council is working in conjunction with Citizens Advice West Sussex colleagues visiting schools in Horsham District to highlight the support services available for vulnerable and low-income families during the cost-of-living crisis.
Staff of local schools have reacted quickly to the information and advice given and uptake to the services on offer has been very positive.
The Council has been using a new Low-Income Family Tracker (LIFT) dashboard to target support for the most vulnerable organisations and households across the District, and the school visit project is just one priority focus area.
Commenting on the initiative, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Welfare Cllr Sam Raby said:
“I am delighted that so many schools in our District have taken us up on this support and advice partnership work as this will make sure as many families as possible are getting the financial help that they need and that they are entitled too.
“Helping residents get through the cost-of-living crisis is a top priority for us and we are doing everything we can to help residents facing financial pressures.
“The huge rises in energy costs, food bills and now mortgages too, mean that many residents now need help but may never have claimed benefits before and don’t know what is available and how to apply for it.”
“The use of our new LIFT tool has been instrumental in identifying specific households and organisations that are eligible for help but did not realise it.”
As a result of the success of the initial school visits, further schools across the whole Horsham District will be contacted in the coming weeks to encourage more people to access benefits and services they could be entitled to.
Using the LIFT dashboard has recently targeted residents eligible for Pension Credit but not claiming it and has resulted in some £53,000 now being awarded to them. A further £89,000 of housing benefit has been identified and has been awarded to residents who are entitled to Severe Disability Premium but where unaware that they were eligible.