A WELFARE advice charity has landed a £10,000 grant to help it respond to huge demand from people concerned about the imminent benefit reforms.
East Staffordshire Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), based at Anson Court, off Horninglow Street, was given the money by the Big Lottery Fund grants scheme, Awards for All.
Chief executive Dawn Green said: “I’m very pleased and see it as the first part of our overall plan to respond to welfare reform.”
She said the CAB received the award following a bid submitted by her colleague, Anna Hall, the charity’s bureau services development manager, in January.
The group will use the funding to train five volunteers to become specialist general advisers or caseworkers in welfare benefits.
Caseworkers and managers from the CAB will deliver the training in a process expected to take at least 12 months.
The volunteers will serve Burton and Uttoxeter.
Mrs Green said: “The benefits system as it stands is complex, but from April 1 it will become doubly complex because of the reforms, when the old system will run alongside the new one.
“We want to be in a position where we can respond to the demands of people concerned about the impact of welfare reform on them and their households.
“We are not sure whether we will be able to respond to these demands but we are already inundated and are expecting the demand to increase.
“This money is going to help us address the level of demand we can foresee.”
The chief executive said her group needed to increase its services and was ‘trying to do more with less’.
Part of its attempt to address the challenges presented by welfare reform is to transfer its skills to third sector organisations which encounter people in need before referring them to the CAB.
The charity is due to hold an information day for 40 delegates today at Branston Golf and Country Club.