During Challenge Poverty Week we have been blogging each day of this week to help shine a spotlight on the work that WCHG’s Financial Inclusion Officers do every day in Wythenshawe to #ChallengePoverty.
These are the typical things that the team advise on to help tenants facing difficult financial times.
This afternoon a tenant calls the office worried that she does not have enough food for herself and her 2 young children to last over the weekend. She is struggling to manage on her Universal Credit and is not due another payment until the following week. When I call she explains that she has a lot of deductions from her Universal Credit – for overpaid Child Tax Credit and arrears of Council Tax and water. She had been working as a self-employed caterer before Covid 19 but had had to stop due the pandemic when demand for her business disappeared.
I explain that I can provide a food voucher for her to take to a local food bank which will provide enough food for her and her children for 3 meals for 3 days. I also advise her to contact the DWP to explain she is struggling financially and ask them to reduce her deductions. I check if she is able to come into the office for an appointment where I can look at applying to one of United Utilities hardship schemes to help her manage the water debt. I also mention that I could refer her to our employment scheme, Real Opportunities, if she wanted to look at getting back into employment. She agrees this would be really helpful to her as doesn’t want to return to self-employment but is unsure what other job she could do.
Financial Inclusion Team Leader