for the publicadvisors only

Raising awareness and take up of benefits

WWRAS in the Community

WWRAS is committed to partnership working and recognises that this is the best way of ensuring that individuals are helped to access their full benefit entitlement.

We know that as a small organisation we cannot reach all potential claimants to offer them advice, so we try to spread information and expertise on benefits as widely as possible to those workers and agencies that they are in contact with locally.

We also take up policy issues where we identify that these are preventing people from claiming their full entitlements.

Supporting front line workers

As a "second tier" agency WWRAS is not open to the public but instead offers support services to front line agencies and their staff and volunteers.  This means that we work in very close partnership with many local organisations, both voluntary and statutory, across the county.

Our database includes over 800 teams, separate groups and agencies.  All of these receive our publications and training programme as well as having access to our consultancy advice and casework referral services.

Specific partnership projects

From time to time we secure funding for projects to work together with particular agencies.  In recent years we have:

  • Worked with all local Councils to promote the take up of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit;
  • Done take-up work with older people in partnership with Age Concern, the County Council and the five District and Borough Councils;
  • Worked with low income families and lone parents to support and advise families with young children about benefits;
  • Tackled child poverty through working with Nuneaton and Bedworth’s Children’s Centres and HMRC;
  • Worked with local schools and local Councils in North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, and Rugby to increase take-up of Free School Meals and benefit income;
  • Worked with local Councils to help assist local residents affected by bedroom tax and benefit cap.

Children's Centres Take-Up Project

From 2009-2017, WWRAS saw over 2,000 parents advising on 2,800 individual benefit issues and secured additional benefit gains for families totalling just in excess of £5,590,000.  This is money that families were entitled to and had often missed out on for significant periods of time through a lack of knowledge and understanding about their legal rights and entitlements.

In addition we advised clients through our better off checking service that they were entitled to an additional £560,942 during this period.  This has been integral in assisting clients to make key decisions about returning to the workplace or dealing with charges of family circumstances e.g. when someone was contemplating giving up work to look after a sick relative.

This means that from 2009-2017 we assisted parents and families to secure total benefit entitlements of just in excess of £6,151,000.  It also deserves comment that much of the money we helped to secure for clients was spent in the local economy and therefore acts as a conduit to bring national money into local areas.

This project has been funded from various sources over the past eight years including, Warwickshire County Council; the Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme and latterly Warwickshire Public Health.  Unfortunately, despite our best efforts we were unable to secure the necessary funding in order for this project to continue beyond 31st March 2017.  As a result we have had to cease accepting referrals from Children’s Centres.  We continue to work on all open cases for this service in order to bring those cases to a natural and satisfactory conclusion for clients and will continue to look for funding opportunities in order to continue with this type of work in the future.  We would like to thank all partners and funders for making this project the huge success that it was.