Source: City of Wakefield
The Wakefield Recovery Board is making rapid strides in developing its ‘Help at the Hub’ initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aim of the scheme is to help support residents and communities impacted by the pandemic, by bringing together trusted partners to offer the help and support that is needed.
Partners including Citizens Advice, DWP, WDH, Nova and the Council, will work with charities and communities to provide access to services within local areas, both virtually and face-to-face, to help residents with issues including financial advice, and other issues affecting lives due to the impact of the global pandemic.
At the Recovery Board meeting held this week, the discussion also highlighted a range of national and local issues including food poverty, evictions and mental health issues, set against the context of varying restrictions and the current national lockdown.
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Chair of the Wakefield Recovery Board and Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We are here to support residents as we continue to meet the many challenges of COVID-19. I am pleased to see that plans for the Hubs are moving forward, despite adjustments needing to be made as we are in a national lockdown. We are all working to support residents and businesses in our district and the Hubs are a key aspect of this, as well as our pledge that no child in our district will go hungry.”
Simon Topham, Chair of the Resident’s Recovery group and Chief Executive of Wakefield District Citizens Advice said: “We have a clear goal to set up a robust service at the Hubs, so people know about initiatives and the support we can offer. We’ve made significant progress, and it’s moving at a rapid pace.
“Partners are lining up to work with the Hubs, and we are very pleased with the level of support received and the recognition of the value and benefits this will offer.”
The service will be launched soon and it is anticipated that it will be possible to publicise opening times and services towards the end of this month to residents.
The service will be based in existing local hubs where available and nine locations have been identified, these are: The Mill, Castleford Heritage Centre; St Marys, Pontefract; Ossett Town Hall; Havercroft & Ryhill Community Learning Centre; Kellingley Club, Knottingley; St Georges, Lupset; Eastmoor Community Project, St.Swithun’s Community Centre, Wakefield; Westfield Centre, South Elmsall; and Lightwaves Leisure and Community Centre, Wakefield.
Here people will be able to receive advice on how to:
- claim benefits – including directing residents to specific help to sign on for Universal Credit.
- provide a general check on benefits for households on low incomes.
- protect employment and redundancy rights.
- access other emergency aid, including housing costs and food.
The service will also support:
- those who have fallen into debt or at high risk of falling into debt due to the crisis.
- those facing eviction.
During the meeting, there was also discussion about the potential expansion of services available in future in the hubs, such as mental health, as part of the approach offering multi-layered support during and immediately after COVID-19.