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Why Local Welfare Assistance Funding Matters

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:59

The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) is extremely concerned about the future loss of local welfare assistance provision, because:

The Department of Work & Pensions; local authorities; charities; and front-line services have no idea of the scale of unrecorded need of in-crisis households in England, and the demand this is placing on voluntary sector organisations and referral agencies.

  • From a survey of FRN members in April 2014, approximately 348,000 in-crisis households have tried to obtain support from 250 FRN member organisations to get access to low-cost – often free - essential household goods (e.g. beds). Not all have been successful. This situation will be exacerbated post April 2015 if funding is not reinstated. Over 60% of these members are now providing food parcels on a consistent basis. They are not part of The Trussell Trust network of food banks. 
  • Most member organisations have now received suicide awareness training from Clinical Commissioning Groups in order to identify suicide risk factors and early indicators, which people in crisis are likely to exhibit. Furniture re-use charities are disappearing from deprived local communities, because the level of demand for waste and welfare solutions from local authorities has increased at a time when core funding support has been slashed.
  • Furniture re-use charities are subsidising the State in its duty of care to support people in crisis, with an unsustainable business model that relies on repeat funding applications for a dwindling pot of money.
  • People in crisis are turning to payday and door-step lenders in order to finance day-to-day living and to buy essential goods that the local authority cannot afford to support, or because the household fails to meet the authority’s eligibility criteria.

On a positive note…

  • The new local provision is focusing resources in a direct and controlled way.
  • In-kind, non-cash systems have dramatically reduced fraudulent claims.
  • Over 100 re-use charities are working in partnership with their local authority with the provision of essential goods and services to individuals and families in crisis.
  • There are some excellent local welfare assistance schemes in operation that look at the cause of crisis rather than treat the symptoms, thereby reducing dependency and reducing on-going costs.
  • Re-use and the supply of old rather than new goods is saving the public purse £millions.
  • A wide range of non-commissioned, `free’ services provided to people in need when local authorities work with re-use charities.
  • Hundreds of thousands of households have been awarded essential support which will contribute to more secure living and better life chances. However, more time is needed to fully qualify this.

The need to retain direct funding for another year

  • The local welfare assistance fund is a small amount of money that gives people a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
  • Its loss will penalise the most vulnerable members of society, thereby storing bigger and broader problems for the future (e.g. negative impacts on health, wealth/debt, education, crime and life chances).
  • Allow local communities to fully assess the efficacy of local welfare provision.
  • There is a fantastic wealth of good practice in operation between local authorities, third & private sector partners.
  • FRN has guidance and case studies for encouraging and helping these partners work together, to help people in crisis and to allocate limited funds appropriately and effectively.

The Furniture Re-use Network has responded in full to the DWP’s `Local Welfare Provision Consultation’ with supporting evidence to the above points.




For further information, contact:

Helen Middleton

Market Development Manager

Furniture Re-use Network

48-56 West Street



Tel: 07726 358243

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Twitter: @frnuk

Read 2495 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2015 15:30

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