Good news from Sara our Welfare Rights Advisor

December was a busy month for welfare rights advice at the Centre. When there are benefit claims to support women to make, and appeals on negative benefit decisions, I like to try and get them all done in time for Christmas in the hope that our women won’t be struggling quite so much during what is already a very difficult time of year for so many. I returned to work in the New Year and remembered where the on button for my computer was (and eventually my password too!), I discovered to my absolute delight that the December push had paid off, quite literally, bringing in a total of £31540.60 for our women.

Two of the women had received large backdated amounts into their bank accounts on 22nd December and were able to spend the holiday period in relative comfort compared to the hardship they had been previously been experiencing. Three of them were being expected to attend Job Centre appointments despite having very limiting disabilities and are now reassured by less pressure since having these decisions overturned. One of our women was relieved to find that we had appealed a benefit decision that means her rent account is now in credit by £533 after years of rent arrears and the resultant stress and insecurity.

Overall since starting at the Women’s Centre as part of the Help through Crisis project at the beginning of August, our women have seen benefit gain of £65184.47. The women I work with are all absolutely amazing and a privilege to work with. Often during sessions we agree that money is not the answer to all of the challenges they face but a necessary platform from which to exercise the kind of autonomy and empowerment that many take for granted.

Help through Crisis is funded by the Big Lottery.


Want to start taking small steps towards work?

Opportunity and Change is part of Building Better Opportunities, a national programme which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund. We are pleased to offer a new service for women who want to improve their employability. We are now offering a person-centered employment service which delivers a holistic package of support to help women who have multiple and complex needs.

  • You must experience at least 2 of the following complex issues:
  • Mental health
  • Homelessness
  • Drug and/or alcohol problems
  • Repeat offending
  • Domestic abuse

A Personal Navigator will work with you to help address and resolve your complex issues. The support will be tailored to your needs and the following will be offered as part of the support package:

  • Motivation and confidence building
  • Information on jobs that might suit you
  • Basic Skills – Math and English
  • Labour market information
  • Volunteering placements
  • CV and cover letter writing
  • Counselling
  • Ongoing support
  • Skills identification
  • Support with completing job applications
  • In work benefit calculations
  • Comprehensive needs assessment
  • Access to childcare
  • Support with travel costs/training equipment or clothes

You do not need to be looking for work straight away. We will support you by working on an individual change plan to help you to achieve your goals.

To find out more and book your first session please contact our reception on 0115 941 1475, Email or pop in and ask about this and arrange a welcome meeting.