Gloucestershire Welfare Support Scheme
The Gloucestershire Welfare Support Scheme started in April 2013 and provides one-off practical support to eligible adults and families. This covers items such as furniture, household goods, white goods and electricity/gas top-ups. There is an emphasis on the use of
- Non-cash awards / vouchers
- Recycled items
You need to meet the criteria and provide proof of your eligibility to receive the support.
We are now able to offer the alternative provision of rugs and mats where appropriate, which can be taken when moving house and may be less expensive, enabling the applicant to obtain more essential household items.
Before you apply to the scheme
You might be entitled to other types of support. You can check this by answering the questions below.
Have you made a claim for benefits and not been paid yet?
If yes, please contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0345 608 8545. They will consider you for a Short Term Benefit Advance. The Welfare Support Scheme does not cover this.
Have your benefits been stopped because of a sanction?
If yes, you may be eligible for a hardship payment. Please contact your local Jobcentre Plus or telephone 0345 608 8545 to discuss further. The Welfare Support Scheme does not cover this.
Have you been getting one of the following benefits for 26 weeks or more?
- Income support;
- Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance;
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit.
If yes, you may be able to apply for a budgeting loan. To do this you need to complete a claim form SF500 which is available at your local Job Centre Plus or on the Jobcentre Plus website.
How to apply
Once you have checked other ways of getting support (including the above), if you still need to apply to the Gloucestershire Welfare Support Scheme please check whether you are eligible using the application form. You can only apply to the Welfare Support Scheme once a year and you need to provide proof of your eligibility.
Apply online for Welfare Support here (any time) or call 0330 123 5550 (during office hours).
The attached application form explains what information and evidence you will need to send with your application. If an agency is supporting you e.g. P3, Citizens Advice Bureau, Cheltenham Community Projects, a housing provider etc., ask them to help you to identify and gather your evidence for proof of eligibility.
Auriga Services Ltd administers the delivery of the Gloucestershire Welfare Support Scheme. Applications must go straight to Auriga Services to ensure a speedy response.
In December 2015, Cabinet approved continuing the Welfare Support Scheme for 2016-17. Between December 2015 and February 2016, a tender process took place for a new contract for the management of the Welfare Support Scheme. The provider of the new contract is Auriga Services Ltd. This contract started on 1st April 2016 and will last for one year, though to the Council may agree at a future point to extend it for a second year.
Support agencies have told us they are pleased with the scheme to date as it is straight forward to access and provides appropriate support to the right people quickly.
Some minor changes have been made to the scheme, these will take effect from April 2016.
Carpet and carpet installation We are now able to offer the alternative provision of rugs and mats where appropriate, which can be taken when moving house and may be less expensive, enabling the applicant to obtain more essential household items.
Rent in advance: Before submitting a welfare application, applicants (where relevant) will need to evidence that they have requested support from appropriate county schemes and have been unsuccessful e.g. the Rent Deposit scheme through Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre or district homeless prevention funding
The new contract does not fund Auriga Services to deliver the same level of administrative service as under the previous contract. In particular, they will not be able to do as much chasing of partial applications. The onus will be on agencies to support applicants to submit their application and all evidence to obtain an award.