A SERVICE which offers financial help to those in need has been given a revamp in a bid to boost the amount of people with access to the £1 million funding pot.
Staffordshire County Council has launched a new online tool to help people using the Local Crisis Support Scheme to check if they can qualify for emergency help.
This comes after it was highlighted that only £43,532.30 out of £1.475 million available through the fund had been dished out to help vulnerable people facing immediate hardship, who are not eligible for other forms of support.
Mark Sutton, the authority’s cabinet support member for public health, said: “There are lots of genuine reasons why people find themselves in an unexpected crisis, struggling for example even to provide a meal for their family that day.
“This fund is designed, not for those who are facing day-to-day struggles, but for the minority in an absolute crisis where all traditional avenues of help and support are not available to them.
“In these circumstances the message from us is very clear – we are here to help.
“We don’t hand out cash, but instead look at meeting immediate needs for food, clothing and furniture.
“This is about helping people facing immediate and unavoidable hardship and in the longer term supporting people to help stop them falling into crisis situations where possible.
“We have helped all those that have applied over the phone and are eligible, but wanted to make it easier and quicker and have launched the new tool on the website.
“If people don’t have access to the internet at home, they can log on for free at our libraries or still contact us by phone if need be.”
The scheme can offer help in the form of food, clothing and furniture – and replaces the former crisis loans offered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
However, unlike the crisis loans, people are not expected to pay back what they receive.
More information on the scheme is available by calling 03001 118008 or visiting the website at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/localcrisissupportscheme