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More support for voluntary organisations helping residents

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Wealden District Council is increasing the support it gives this coming year to Citizen’s Advice, 3VA – the local council for voluntary organisations, Care for Carers and the People Matter to help them with the increased workload caused by Covid-19.

Wealden Citizens Advice, Croham Lodge, Crowborough

Councillor Philip Lunn, Wealden Cabinet member for Community and Public Health said:

People Matter will be very busy in the coming months helping the long term unemployed and vulnerable find work as the economy recovers.

Citizens Advice, 3VA and Care for Carers have all seen demand for their services increase as a result of the pandemic.

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Covid-19 highlighted just how strong the sense of community is in Wealden. I have been tremendously impressed by the generous commitment of local volunteers to make sure neighbours are safe and supported. Their friendly, informal approach plays an important part in making sure good outcomes are achieved.

Wealden has already restructured its 2020-21 Community Grants programme to spearhead support to the many voluntary groups that sprung up in our villages and towns to help people who have had to self-isolate. Through our Covid Emergency and Recovery Grants, we have made £70,000 available. Some of this money is still being used to meet current needs across our communities.

Councillor Philip Lunn

The one-year Service Level awards see Citizens Advice receiving a grant of £170,000, 3VA a grant of £15,750, Care for Carers a grant of £4,500 and People Matter a grant of £7,750. The Conservators of Ashdown Forest receive a grant of £10,000.

Wealden’s Community Grant provides around 50% of the core funding for Wealden Citizen’s Advice, which has seen demand of its services increase since the first lockdown in March 2020. Although it has offices in Uckfield, Crowborough and Hailsham, as well as outreach facilities in Polegate, Heathfield and Willingdon, most of its services have had to be provided remotely since lockdown. Between April 2018 and November 2020 Citizens Advice has helped 12,680 Wealden residents. One in three of its cases relate to Universal Credit, welfare benefits or tax credits, and one in five involve help with debts and budget advice. Citizens Advice also helped more than 500 people who were either homeless or risked losing their home.

This latest round of service level agreements will only be awarded for one year as we synchronise these grants with other Service Level Agreements which come up for renewal in 2022.

Applications for a new round of service level grants for all local organisations will begin later this year.

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