ADDED VALUE

Making Wolverhampton Better Off
Although we’re funded to support people to get their finances back on track, we’ve been able to improve the financial well being of tenants in Wolverhampton in different ways.

Benefits

By ensuring our beneficiaries are on the correct benefits and are claiming all they are eligible for we’ve been able to increase the amount of money in the hands of our beneficiaries. This adds up into the tens of thousands of pounds that residents of Wolverhampton wouldn’t have seen otherwise. This makes their budgets healthier and less likely to fall into problem debt.

Food Parcels

We are acting as an access point for food bank referrals, it’s no secret that food bank referrals have increased hugely over the past few years. We’re more than willing to make referrals provided there is enough need to warrant a food parcel, more importantly we will work with our beneficiaries to address the root cause of needing a food parcel.

Starter Kits

Part way through our project we came across an underspend in funding due to gaps in staff employment. We decided a good use of this money would be to assemble starter packs for new tenants, we identified a need where many new tenants were moving into properties with absolutely nothing, with the Big Lottery’s permission we were able to order household goods for new tenants (less than 6 months into their tenancy).

Items have included: duvets, pillows, kettles, toasters, cutlery, mugs, plates and dishes.

We’ve also kept a stock of basic essentials like soap, toothpaste and cleaning products.

White Goods

Where there’s a need we’ve been applying for white goods for beneficiaries at different types of grant giving organisations. We’ve been able to successfully apply for cookers and fridges for new tenants. This has often gone hand in hand with our new tenancy starter kits where beneficiaries haven’t had anything when they’ve moved home.

Not all applications will be successful so we’ve always encouraged clients to try draw up a new revised budget to save up for the items themselves in the meantime.

Utility Bills

We’ve been raising awareness of utility bill prices and saving energy since day 1. Each year we participate in Citizens Advice’s Big Energy Saving Week. We encourage all beneficiaries to take an active approach to their utility bills, comparing the market and switching if a better deal is possible. It’s also good to check if they’re better off on a meter or if there’s any circumstances which may allow a cheaper tariff, e.g. living alone or have a disability that would make them use more energy/water than usual, there may be discounts available.

Where utility bills have caused arrears we’ve been able to apply to trust funds to try get some or all of the arrears paid off, this is only done in circumstances where the arrears would continue to impact a client’s budget.

We’ve also maintained a close working relationship with Severn Trent Water, they operate a Big Different Scheme where beneficiaries with small amounts of disposable income may be eligible for a discount.

Hardship Payments

In extreme circumstances we’ve been able to administer hardship payments through Citizens Advice Wolverhampton.