This can sometimes be down to low incomes that haven’t kept up with the rise in living costs; insecure incomes or zero hours contracts; or sanctions within the benefits system. Over a five year period Citizens Advice Waverley have seen a 48% increase in the number of clients needing a food bank parcel. Last year over 150 people who came through our doors did not have enough money to feed themselves. That means over 3 people per week are leaving one of our offices with a food parcel, and that’s just those seeking help from Citizens Advice. The number of local people in need of charitable food aid is far greater. The Farnham food bank distributed almost 1,500 emergency food supplies to people in crisis last year.
Citizens Advice Waverley has also seen a 62% increase over the last five years in clients needing crisis support. This may be charitable support to cover essential bills or help to acquire furniture, white goods or clothing. The Local Assistance Scheme (LAS) provides emergency assistance for Surrey residents in a crisis or those needing help to set up or keep their home in the community. It provides financial support to those who are unable to meet their own needs or the needs of their dependents. The LAS can consider requests to:
Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and decisions are made at the time of application. To use the scheme you can call 0344 848 7969 or visit Citizens Advice Waverley waverleycab.org.uk where you will be given all the support you need from trained advisers. We can assess your situation to see if you meet the criteria for a payment from this fund. For more information about the scheme please visit surreycc.gov.uk.
|How we helped Martin*
Martin knows just how it feels to be in desperate need of help when an accumulation of circumstances meant he could no longer meet his basic needs. A relationship breakdown left him facing homelessness and serious financial worries. His marriage had broken down, he’d lost touch with his children and he’d fallen out with his extended family. His finances were in crisis too. By the time he came in to Citizens Advice Waverley his life had spiralled out of control and he was sleeping in his car.
Martin had no money for food and hadn’t eaten for a few days. We gave Martin a food parcel, one suitable for someone with no cooking facilities, and helped him to apply to the Local Assistance Scheme for crisis support. We then worked with Martin to reduce his need for crisis support in the future. With our help he was able to claim his entitlements which eased his financial worries. We also helped him to register with a Housing Options team. Martin is now settled in a new home and looking forward to getting his life back on track.
*This is a typical story of a client’s problem, names and events have been altered for confidentiality purposes.