Published Friday, 12th July 2019

Councillors will receive on update on the financial support and welfare benefit activities being offered to residents at a meeting next week (18 July).

At the meeting, the Executive will be asked to note the update which highlights the range of work undertaken to support those across the city  in need of financial help. Councillors will also be asked to approve an action plan, which has been developed following recommendations from a recent financial inclusion scrutiny review.

In the 2018/19 financial year the York Financial Assistance Scheme spent £228,341 providing direct help to residents in financial difficulty due to exceptional circumstances.

In addition, nine projects, delivered by partner organisations, were awarded grants totalling £166,358 to target help and support to those that need it most.  These ranged from funding Citizens Advice York for their specialist debt support service to working with those over 50 to improve their prospects of employment to placing advice services in community venues and GP surgeries making them easier to access for residents. 

The report also recognises the positive impact of various community projects. These include the continued success of the Chapelfields Community Hub which has just celebrated its second birthday. Also, ‘cooking on a budget’ courses have been delivered in Clifton, Haxby Road, Bell Farm, Tang Hall and Chapelfields. These have been used to encourage low cost healthy eating and as a gateway into other opportunities.

As well as this, the council is continuing to work with Advice York and other partners to promote the council tax support scheme.  The online application process has been made easier and residents can be considered for both council tax support and discretionary housing payments through a single form.  In addition, information events have taken place to promote the council tax support scheme to older people.

Councillor Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, with responsibility for financial inclusion said: “This report is coming to Executive to highlight the importance of the work done by the council and voluntary and community sector partners to support people in financial difficulties.

“This work can make a huge difference to the lives of residents and the communities in which they live and it is encouraging to see how effective the right support or advice at the right time in the right place can be .”

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance said: “We continue to invest in financial support for our residents. We are working hard with our partners across the city to continually improve the help and advice on offer and are working hard to raise awareness of what support is available.

“Residents wanting to find out more about financial assistance in York can visit www.york.gov.uk/Benefits.”

Executive takes place on Thursday 18 July and will be webcasted live at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

To find out more about the report, or to attend the Executive meeting, visit: https://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=11107

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