Free benefits roadshow for residents about to start

The countdown is underway to a roadshow where residents can get an informal free benefits review to ensure they do not miss out on income.

Events organised by Wakefield Council and partner organisations are taking place across the district throughout November.

It comes after furlough and the temporary £20 Universal Credit (UC) uplift ended, leaving some residents with potential money worries.

But the Council and partner agencies are taking action to ensure people do not miss out on other benefits where possible.

The first stop on the tour at the Westfield Centre in South Elmsall on Monday 8 November (9am to 3pm) is just days away.

Anyone with queries about their entitlement to benefits is welcome to drop in for an informal chat.

Experts from the Council, Citizens Advice Wakefield District and Wakefield District Housing’s (WDH) Cash Wise Team will be on hand to help.

Residents can also take the opportunity to work with specialists on managing energy costs.

Warm drinks and sandwiches will be available while visitors chat to the specialists about their needs. 

After South Elmsall, the roadshow calls at the following venues:

  • Tuesday 9 November: Eastmoor Community Project (8.30am to 1.30pm).
  • Wednesday 10November: Castleford Heritage Centre (1.30pm to 6.30pm).
  • Thursday 11 November: Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Learning & Community Centre (8.30am to 1.30pm).
  • Friday 12 November: St. Mary’s Centre, Pontefract (1.30pm to 6.30pm).
  • Monday 15 November: St. George’s, Lupset (1.30pm to 6.30pm).
  • Tuesday 16 November: The Addy, Knottingley (1.30pm to 6.30pm).
  • Wednesday 17November: Airedale Library (8.30am to 1.30pm).
  • Thursday 18 November: St. James’s, Chapelthorpe (1.30pm to 6.30pm).
  • Friday 19 November: Havercroft and Ryhill Community Learning Centre (8.30am to 1.30pm).
  • Monday 22 November: The Chesney Centre, Featherstone (8:30am to 1.30pm).

Anyone who is not currently receiving benefits or has been turned down previously can also receive a free benefits review.

Free and impartial benefit advice will be available and the experts can also help with a variety of money, jobs, housing and health issues.

Maureen Cummings smiling
Cllr Maureen Cummings

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health, said: “We know many of our residents have had a hard time both financially and in other ways throughout the pandemic.

“People may now also have concerns such as energy prices and the end of furlough.

“But we and our partner agencies are here to help and have expert knowledge of benefits and other services that might be available.

“I urge people to come and have a chat over a cuppa and a sandwich with experts who can advise on support relating to benefits and see if there are any other benefits they may be entitled to.

“We want everyone in receipt of benefits, especially those who might be struggling, to come forward for help.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re disabled, a carer, claim a pension or are unemployed – there’s no harm in getting some free, independent help and support.”

Simon Topham, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Wakefield District, said: “In our experience, many people do not get the benefits they are entitled to.

“Either they don’t know they might be entitled or they have not been successful in applying in the past.

“We will review everyone’s own circumstances and if we think residents could get more benefit income we will help them to apply.

“It’s also a good opportunity to have an overall impartial financial health check. Maybe we can help with other things too – like how to manage or reduce debts.”

Pete Beaumont, Financial Inclusion Manager at WDH, said: “Our aim is to help our communities after such a challenging time for so many individuals and families.

“The safety net of the furlough scheme and UC uplift coming to an end, as well as so many other factors, such as increased energy bills, is creating a perfect storm for added pressure on households that need extra help.

“Working in collaboration with Wakefield Council and Citizens Advice, our Cash Wise team is here to support any Wakefield residents that want to have a chat about applying for benefits, energy bills, saving money, employment and many other things during the roadshow.”

To receive a free benefits review, contact Cash Wise on 01977 724651 or visit the website www.getcashwise.co.uk

Citizens Advice Wakefield District can be contacted free on 0800 144 8848 or see www.wakefielddistrictcab.co.uk

Residents can also go along to their nearest support hub for advice. Find the closest one at 

https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/more-money-in-my-pocket/benefit-support