What we are doing in Swansea
The Cordinated Community Support team convened a network of local agencies to distribute funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to provide a central hardship fund for asylum seekers and refugees, including those with No Recourse to Public Funds. The 12-week fund will cover emergency expenses such as baby essentials, digital devices, safe travel costs and phone top-ups. The agencies offer a range of support services including immigration advice, ESOL classes and refer service users to wider sources of specialist support.
Information and guidance on addressing causes of financial crisis previously offered in many foodbanks ceased during the Covid crisis as foodbanks shifted to a collection and delivery model. People using a foodbank might be unsure of what support services which are currently available locally, especially if they are digitally excluded. The CCS team are working with Citizen’s Advice Swansea Neath Port Talbot, foodbanks and the Local Authority to distribute information leaflets in food parcels. The leaflet includes details of how to contact Citizen’s Advice who provide information and advice on issues including welfare rights, debt and employment.
The CCS team is working with local partners to monitor the impact of recent changes to the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund. The Welsh Government announced at the beginning of May that applications for Emergency Assistance Payments will be treated with greater discretion until 31 July.
The CCS team is supporting a new partnership between Swansea University Law Clinic and Swansea Women’s Aid. Prior to Covid, it was intended that the CCS programme would supply Women’s Aid with laptops for clients to access an online video legal clinic. Whilst the Women’s Aid office must remain closed, arrangements have been made for clients and support workers to access the online appointments being provided by the University Law Clinic.
As a result of the ongoing situation with Covid-19 we have had to change and adapt the plans and timeframes for the programme in the pilot sites. However, in the immediacy we are working in these areas to ensure those who are supporting people facing financial crisis have the help they need:
Since March the Coordinated Community Support programme has hosted regular video calls with local authority and VCS organizations in each pilot area to establish how the CCS programme can support local responses to Covid-19. Issues highlighted in Swansea included support for people with No Recourse to Public Funds and the challenge of reaching the digitally excluded- groups who are particularly vulnerable at this time.
The CCS team are coordinating a network of local agencies to provide a central hardship fund for refugees, migrants and people with No Recourse to Public Funds. The fund will cover emergency expenses such as baby essentials and phone top-ups. The agencies offer a range of support services including immigration advice and ESOL classes.
The team is working with VCS and Local Authority partners to find solutions to how those without internet access can access support, including the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund