Town council grant to aid unemployed over Christmas period

14 December 2016 10:54AM

A GENEROUS grant will help unemployed people access computers for longer over the winter period.

Cleator Moor Town Council has donated £1,000 to Phoenix Enterprise Centre - a community interest company - which helps unemployed residents find work and apply for benefits.

The centre, on Jacktrees Road, is now able to offer its IT services on Fridays, from 9am to 4pm, during December and January. This is in addition to its existing opening times on a Wednesday and Thursday.

And the grant will also cover a funding shortfall until new funding streams become available into the new year.

Grace Starkey, from the centre, said: "This funding comes at a time when the DWP are introducing Universal Credit full service and people need access to computers to make claims and keep their Universal Credit accounts and journals up to date, to log any changes in circumstances and receive messages from their work coaches.

"We have been increasingly busier in the lead up to December and we expect those who have taken Christmas seasonal work will need access to IT to claim universal credit at the end of December and beginning of January; as many of them will be out of work and you can only claim Universal Credit online."

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work, which merges together some benefits and tax credits.

Members of Cleator Moor Town Council decided to back the project after discussing the problem with Joanne Crowe from Phoenix Enterprise Centre.

A council statement said: "The requirement for additional facilities was identified due to a rise in demand for computer access. Members of the council realised there was an opportunity to bridge the gap in service by supplying a grant to cover the period over Christmas into the new year, when funding from other bodies will hopefully become available.

"Cleator Moor South in particular is one of the most digitally deprived areas in the country so it is important that there are facilities and support available for those who need to make a claim for universal credit and for those who need to maintain an existing claim."

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