22 May 2024

Money Helpers drop-in session returns

by Tim Nuttall

A Money Helpers drop-in session is set to return to Withernsea next week following the success of similar events held previously in the town.

The event will provide an informal opportunity for members of the community to seek information, advice and support to help navigate their way through the cost-of-living crisis.

It will take place next Thursday, September 22, between 2pm and 4pm, at Withernsea Methodist Church.

Representatives from a variety of organisations, including East Riding Council’s welfare team, Citizens Advice and mental health charity Mind, will be on hand to help answer questions, offer support and hopefully bring clarity to what is, for many, an overwhelming situation.

Factors such as the need to often liaise between different organisations, coupled with high demand on local and national helplines, and the confusion caused by the multitude of information and misinformation found online, can combine to make the search for help a daunting prospect.

The Money Helpers drop-in aims to make this process easier by facilitating an in-person gathering of relevant representatives to humanise and simplify the experience.

The drop-ins are the result of a combined effort from local agencies and organisations to support the community, facilitated by Withernsea Big Local.

Withernsea Big Local member Ute Pietsch-Batemansaid: “A couple of years ago, when we knew changes to Universal Credit would hit the town, we facilitated a group that included representatives from the DWP, Citizens Advice, East Riding Council, Withernsea Town Council, local businesses, churches and community groups that met on a regular basis to help address the issue and was very successful.

“When we knew about the energy price cap being taken off, we at the WithernseaBigLocal got in touch with the original group and asked them to come back round the table to form the Energy Poverty group. From those meetings, the idea of the Money Helpers drop-in was born and two successful sessions ran at the Shores Centre.

“After being generously offered the free use of the Community Room at Withernsea Methodist Church, a third session followed in July this year which then paved the way for next week’s event.”

Estimated figures by the independent benefit calculator website, entitledto.co.uk, suggest that about £15 billion in benefits goes unclaimed annually, simply because people are not aware of what help they may be eligible for. With many working families pushed into poverty, the knowledge and expertise of the representatives at the event will be invaluable.

The link between money issues and poor mental health also brings its own challenges. To help address this, a representative from Mind will be at the event to offer support.

Following a move to Withernsea Methodist Church for a similar event in July, church leaders are pleased to host next week’s opportunity to help support the community. Church Leadership Member Gordon Beastall said: “The strength of our church lies within the community that we serve. We are delighted to regularly facilitate a number of events for the benefit of the community, from entertainment to weekly worship and support sessions such as the Money Helpers drop-in which, much like the church itself, aims to bring reassurance and comfort through difficult times.

“The event will offer an informal, non-judgmental platform for members of the community to gain support and reassurance so that by the time they leave, they can do so hopefully feeling better about things and knowing that there are people there to help.”