Project affiliate - Aviva Plc logo image

Drop-in benefits advice for those in dire need

by Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit in Reading, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 21st September 2021 we successfully raised £6,190 ( + est. £467.50 Gift Aid ) with 77 supporters in 42 days

Our drop-in sessions will help the most vulnerable in our community become financially empowered to thrive post-COVID and meet their goals

by Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit in Reading, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Our aim is to expand our staff team in the longer term so we can continue to help more people access the benefits they are due.  To recruit a full-time caseworker for a year will cost £28,000. But as we all know, when looking for a job, applying for a one year contract isn't ideal, so  to get the best candidates to apply, we need to offer them a longer contract. Through your generous donations and our ongoing applications to grant giving trusts, we aim to raise £150,000 in the next six months and the money we raise here will make a significant contribution to that. Thank you. 


Our aim

Reading, Berkshire is the UK's third most 'unequal' town, where people living north of the River Thames enjoy an average life expectancy 8 years longer than those living in the south of the town. We urgently need to narrow that gap and build back better following the pandemic.

The number of people claiming benefits in Reading almost tripled during 2020 and now, more than ever, people need our guidance to access the financial support that will empower them to move on from stress and crisis and fulfil their potential.

What we do

Our small team of expert case workers offer free advice and assistance to  help relieve poverty, sickness and distress. We provide welfare benefit advice where people have complex cases and needs. A quarter of our clients have multiple disabilities and/or mental health issues and need help and guidance in making a successful claim.  In cases where adverse decisions are made, we guide clients through the daunting appeals processes to secure just outcomes, often acting as their advocate.

1629382819_cropped_pic_of_rcwru_for_email_.jpg

We are a small team - three part-time caseworkers and one full-time and our CEO - and rely on  volunteers and our board of Trustees for extra support. Our caseworkers work tirelessly to support clients for as long as the individual needs to secure a just outcome for their claim. If a case goes to appeal, it can take up to 100 hours of caseworker time over two years to secure a just outcome.

The pandemic has made it extremely difficult for clients to access our services - many are shielding or are digitally excluded and our office was closed during lockdown - we need to reach out to them as soon as possible and make it as easy as possible for them to reach out to us.  In addition, as the furlough scheme is phased out more new clients will seek our support, many unfamiliar with the benefits system and their welfare rights.

What our clients say

"I really cannot thank GH (Welfare Rights Unit caseworker) enough for what he did for me, and does for so many like me. Quite simply put, if it was not for GH,  I would not be here now."

“My caseworker at RCWRU has been incredibly helpful. I don’t know what I would have done without his assistance. His knowledge of benefits and patience with me has been brilliant. Everything we challenged he got for me and has made a massive difference to my well-being. I am and will be eternally grateful”.

How your donation will help

Through a series of pop-up benefits surgeries in local community centres and spaces near to where our clients live, we will raise awareness of the services we offer. We will be able to meet more people face-to-face, make an initial assessment and help with immediate concerns and queries, sign-post them to other agencies as required and take their cases forward as necessary. 

With two pop-up surgeries a month, we expect to help an additional 30 new clients each month, providing advice and reassurance and averting crises such as repossessions and homelessness. Our support helps alleviate stress and anxiety among the most vulnerable, leading to better health and wellbeing and securing the financial support they so desperately need.

Please donate  what you can.

Our small team is stretched to its limit and taking on new clients is a challenge. Without additional funding we cannot reach out to support the people we know need our help now, this minute.

£25 will help us to support at least one more client and financially empower them to move on from crisis and stress.

£100 will make a significant contribution to one outreach session that will put 15 new clients on the road to financial stability

 £1000 will ensure we can run at least six outreach sessions, ensuring at least 100 vulnerable people in Reading find the ally they need to guide them through the complexities of the benefits system

Together we can do more.

Thank you.


Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£25 or more

Your £25 donation

£25 will help us to support at least one more client and financially empower them to move on from crisis and stress.

£100 or more

Your £100 donation

£100 will make a significant contribution to one outreach session that will put 15 new clients on the road to financial stability, reducing their risk of homelessness, hunger and further crises

£500 or more

Your £500 donation

£500 will enable us to run at least three outreach sessions, ensuring at least 50 vulnerable people in Reading find the ally they need to guide them through the complexities of the benefits system

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.