Women in South Tyneside struggling with the new benefit system, Universal Credit, are being offered support thanks to a £9,450 grant.
The Apna Ghar Women’s Centre on Ocean Road, South Shields, has been given a boost by the Coalfields Community Investment Programme.
Delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust - which supports former mining towns and villages - the programme supports organisations and programmes of activity to address skills, employment or health.
With a total fund of £9,450, the centre will now be able to offer daily advice sessions to members and other women in the borough who are struggling with Universal Credit requirements, in response to increased demand.
In addition, one-to-one support will be offered to help people use the new online system, and participants can also be referred to the applicants English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or IT classes.
Sign-posting to a support or social groups will also be offered alongside information, advice and guidance in order to direct individuals to more specialist services or training available elsewhere.
Sharon Finnigan from Apna Ghar Womens Centre, said: “Universal Credit is a lifeline for some people living within our communities and that is why it is so important that we are able to offer the right advice and, more importantly, solutions to any issues that these women are faced with.
“Some people will be in control of their finances, but just struggle to use the new online and IT systems, whereas others might stumble due to a language barrier.
“The daily sessions we provide will identify each person’s individual needs and ensure they receive the support which is right for them.”