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Cash will be lifeline to help most vulnerable, says Council deputy leader
Advice groups will benefit from a £2.2 million cash boost over the next two years aimed at protecting the district’s poorest residents from Government cutbacks.
Yesterday at City Hall, Councillor Imran Hussain, the deputy leader of Bradford Council, announced that new welfare advice services targeting the poorest communities would be commissioned in areas such as Lidget Green and Bradford Moor.
He urged voluntary groups to bid for the cash by the deadline of Wednesday, October 16.
The cash is coming from the Council’s public health budget and will be £1.1m for 2013/14 and the same amount for 2014/15.
Coun Hussain said that the funding was a “real lifeline” for organisations providing advice to those in need and was aimed at helping people avoid loan sharks or payday lenders and get advice when they needed it.
The services commissioned will address child poverty, provide more support for those in poverty suffering ill-health and in debt, and provide more specialist advice for complex cases, as well as tackling the gap in provision for home visiting for the elderly.
The exact nature of the services will become clear once successful bids have been made by advice organisations.
Over the two years, money will go to outreach sessions in GP surgeries, mental health resource centres and children’s centres; to providing advice in complex cases; to working with Eastern and Central European communities and to funding for winter warmth and other “innovation” projects.
Coun Hussain said: “I fought tooth and nail to secure the money which aims to target the link between poverty, debt and ill health by offering greater access to welfare rights and debt advice within the communities they’re based in.”
“GP surgeries, children’s centres and mental health centres are just some of the locations the Council will be working with to reach the long-term sick and disabled, carers, lone parents, the unemployed and low-paid workers.
“I feel that Government cuts in the advice sector are so drastic that the sector is at its last breath and this (cash) is absolutely vital.
“National funding is less than 50 per cent of what it used to be and service- users because of the cuts have tripled.
“A critical issue for us is to make sure we look after the poorest in our district and those affected by some of the massive changes going through.
“This shows how much we value the advice sector and the reliance on that sector is going to get heavier in the months to come.
“This investment is in addition to the existing council budget for Community Advice Services funding.
“Tackling poverty health inequalities and supporting the vulnerable are Council priorities and the part played by advice services has been recognised despite big spending cuts. We have protected funding since 2010.”
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