Funding for organisations giving support and welfare advice

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A welfare rights organisation and a group supporting people with industrial diseases have been given a funding boost by Derbyshire County Council.

Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre, which offers free, independent welfare rights advice, will receive a grant of £39,750 and the Trade Union Safety Team (TRUST) will receive £5,763 following a decision by the county council’s Cabinet today (Tuesday 16 July).

Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre (DUWC) was set up in 1983 and offers a number of services geared around welfare rights including guidance on benefits and tax credits, help with form-filling, representation at benefits tribunals and redundancy advice.

The organisation has a mix of employed staff and volunteers who work from the main office in Saltergate, Chesterfield and 14 outreach centres in the county. They also run a telephone helpline.

Last year DUWC dealt with nearly 8,400 enquiries and it is estimated they helped to bring in more than £2.3 million for local people as a result.

The organisation, which works closely with the county council’s Welfare Benefits Information and Advice Team, are expecting demands on the service to rise due to current welfare reforms. This includes the introduction of Personal Independence Payments and changes to the Disability Living Allowance Scheme.

The Trade Union Safety Team (TRUST) provides help and support, including legal and benefits advice, on all aspects of health and safety at work including industrial diseases.

Based in Chesterfield, the team also has outreach services and supports people across Derbyshire and Derby City.

The work they do includes diagnostic testing for industrial hearing loss and Vibration White Finger, as well as running support groups for people diagnosed with tinnitus and asbestos-related diseases.

In 2011/12 TRUST dealt with more than 700 enquiries either on the phone, in the office or in people’s homes and there has been a steady increase in the number of people using its service.

Derbyshire County Council leader Councillor Anne Western said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to re-instate the funding to these two very worthwhile organisations.

“The work they do benefits thousands of people every year, helping them through what can be very daunting processes at often very difficult times.

“The staff and volunteers work really hard for the people of Derbyshire and we are pleased to be able to support their work with this funding.”

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