Lunch Positive respond to Universal Credit implementation in Brighton & Hove.
As the implementation of Universal Credit enters its final stages, there are big changes ahead with the longstanding link between disability benefits and higher levels of other benefits decreasing.
New claimants may be worse off and existing claimants who experience a change of circumstances can also possibly lose significant amounts of benefit.
Most claims need to be claimed and managed on-line with little or no telephone or face to face back up except for the most vulnerable claimants.
Lunch Positive is planning its own response to these fundamental changes in the welfare benefits system, aiming to support people with HIV in its own way.
A group of key volunteers will undertake specialist training in understanding this new benefit and will be available at lunch club sessions each Friday at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church to signpost information and specialist services to support people.
The lunch club will introduce additional computers for members use, with 1-1 support from volunteers to help complete on-line claim forms and manage these claims.
A new page will be added to the Lunch Positive website giving information on key welfare benefits, including information and help to access local specialist support services such as money advice workers, crisis support services, and food banks.
Lunch Positive has continued to develop its own emergency food service, taking donated food from local suppliers and making these available on a weekly basis to people at the lunch club who may need them and the charity has extended its network of referrers to support the supply of emergency food to people in need and crisis.
Gary Pargeter, Service Manager at Lunch Positive, said: “Many more people experience economic disadvantage and poverty than is often realised, including significant in-work poverty.
“No one should struggle unnecessarily, and we hope that our service along with other support services will be a port of call for people when they are in need.
“We know that many people sometimes find it difficult to ask for help, to acknowledge that times are very hard, or worse. As the people delivering Lunch Positive, we come from the HIV community, and many of us have experienced or share these challenges. Please, never feel that you cannot ask for support. Empathising and helping wherever needed is what drives us.”
For more information about Lunch Positive, click here