For Kellie Wigley, Community and Partnership Manager at Stockton Council, Family Hubs’ role with regard to welfare and benefits advice is most importantly helping families navigate the system.
‘As well as distributing food bank vouchers and connecting families with voluntary sector organisations who can provide basics, such as clothing, furniture and equipment’, reports Kellie, ‘we have DWP benefits advisors offering drop-in sessions at our Family Hubs. Without Family Hubs, this kind of advice and guidance is accessed via phone lines (often with long queues) or making an appointment at a Job Centre, which can be daunting and inconvenient. At our Family Hubs, our priority is to help families get the support they’re entitled to by creating easy access to expertise in an approachable setting. Our DWP advisors are on hand to provide information and help with form filling. And it’s not just about moments of crisis, we have job clubs in our hubs where we help people build their aspirations and confidence to get into work by helping them with their CV, practising their interview technique and providing clothing grants for interviews.’