[typography font=”Cardo” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#000000″][dropcap]A[/dropcap][/typography]s of today (Monday 1st April 2013) the Social Fund, which is a national scheme that provides support and aid to those who are most vulnerable, is coming to an end, as the demand for such help is expected to increase. The Social Fund provides money for community care grants and crisis loans, which are offered through the job centre, and the alternatives is funding that is to be controlled by councils in England, Scotland and Wales.
Critics are warning that the demand will only rise, especially following the changes that the government has made to welfare, which is expected to kick in relatively soon. It is expected that the level of support that people will be able to access will depend on where they live, rather than their circumstances on a national scale.
In the past, anyone who was in need could consider using the Social Fund, which primary benefit was to provide loans of around £50 to those who needed to overcome short term financial difficulties, which were usually caused by late wage payments or circumstances beyond their control. The loans could then by repaid through benefits.
Community grants were also available, on a separate basis, to those people who were in more vulnerable situations, such as people in a domestic violence environment or leaving care, providing them the means to buy good to help them make the transition to returning to living independently.
However, following the changes that are effective as of today, it is expected that those in need will have to turn to their local authorities for the same sort of support, meaning that the level of help is going to be more dependant on where the person lives. For example, if a person lives within an area with few people needing support, the money will be available to help them as it is needed; however, if they live in an area where there is a high number of people needing support, the situation could be very different, with the minimum amount of support being provided.
It is expected that many councils will turn to offering food stamps or furniture vouchers, but Tristram Hunt, the MP for Stoke-On-Trent, isn’t fully on-board with the idea, saying [quote]There’s something that makes me instinctively very wary about the move towards food stamps and vouchers.[/quote]
If you are worried about how the changes will affect you, you can ring the Social Fund Contact Number and someone will be able to provide you with information regarding your query.