Community Pride Fund helps CAB prepare for Universal Credit - VIDEO

The rollout of the Government’s Universal Credit scheme has just begun in the borough and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) is readying itself for huge increase in demand for its services.

Community Pride Fund helps CAB prepare for Universal Credit - VIDEO

The money is being used to upgrade the charity’s computer system and provide a number of self-service computers and other online tools that its clients in the borough and visitors to its centre in Tan Bank in Wellington can use to access information.

CAB’s Lyn Brayne talks about how the Community Pride Fund has helped her charity.

The upgrade of CAB’s digital support coincides with the start of the rollout of Universal Credit, which covers a number of working age benefits including housing and child benefit, in the borough this month.

The Government plans to make Universal Credit an online only service and the CAB are predicting that as this affects more people in the borough it will result in a surge in demand for advice and support from people needing help in making online benefit applications.

The money from the Council’s £1.26m Community Pride Fund will replace outdated IT equipment and fund 16 new computers as well as providing equipment for staff to be able to give help and installing a new display system in CAB’s offices.

Lyn Brayne, service director of Telford and the Wrekin CAB, said; “Access to the internet is now essential for many tasks to help manage our lives.

“But many of our clients either don’t have internet access or the necessary digital skills to complete the tasks necessary for modern living and these are often the most vulnerable people in society.

“As measures such as Universal Credit start to affect more and more people in the borough over the coming months, we can be sure that demand for our services will greatly increase, particularly among those who don’t have access or the experience of working online."

The money from Community Pride Fund will support a separate major initiative the CAB is running supported by funding from charity Comic Relief to provide budgeting advice and financial capability.

The Council and CAB already work very closely together with CAB providing regular advice sessions at Southwater One.

The Community Pride is £1.26 million pot that the Council made available for community groups, charities and business to bid for. The scheme is supporting 37 projects across the borough with grants from between £100,000 to £2,800. It forms part of the Council’s Pride in Your Community programme.

Cllr Shaun Davies, cabinet member for Business, Neighbourhood and Customer Services, said: “The move to make people apply for a range of benefits online will have a major impact for many vulnerable people in the community and we’re delighted that Community Pride Fund will help to make this change smoother for people thanks to the work of CAB and its volunteers.”

”It’s another example of the Community Pride Fund making a real difference across Telford and Wrekin.”