The aim of our Local Welfare scheme is to support residents who:
- are facing unexpected costs
- need emergency help
- provides a short term and one-off form of support
- is offered in the event of an emergency or crisis when family, friends, charities, or insurance cannot help
- helps to minimise the risk of harm to vulnerable residents and their household
Support the scheme offers
This scheme can provide one-off payments in emergencies and help with the cost of essential items that are difficult to budget for.
It helps to ease the financial pressure for residents in Bracknell, who have low income and are most in need.
The scheme offers support for basic living costs and the cost of meeting essential items to help you remain in your home, or when moving in a new home for:
- cost of food through a referral to a local food bank or other form of immediate support with provision of food on an emergency basis where the food bank support may not be available
- cost of utilities including gas and electricity reconnection
- cost of essential clothing and footwear
- payment to a household impacted by COVID-19, where access to IT equipment for the education of school age children such as laptop or broadband is required and where all other methods of support have been exhausted
- essential appliances and basic white goods
- essential furniture such as beds and mattresses
- cooking equipment, or other basic kitchen utensils
- removal and delivery costs up to a maximum value of £500
- carpeting or flooring to meet the needs of a disabled member of the household up to a maximum value of £500
Help to meet other needs may be considered where essential to the safety of a resident or family member and where other options exhausted.
Who can apply
To be eligible, applicants must:
- be 16 years of age
- have the right to reside in the United Kingdom
- have lived in Bracknell Forest for the past 6 months continuously or 3 out of the last 5 years
- be in receipt of a qualifying state benefit or low income
- be able to demonstrate, through a financial assessment, that they are unable to meet the costs of the emergency
- be able to demonstrate that it has not been possible to secure support from other means
- be able to demonstrate that the hardship is a direct result of COVID-19 such as being furloughed
- be able to demonstrate other exceptional circumstances apply such as fleeing domestic abuse or leaving residential care
Qualifying benefits include:
- Universal Credit
- Income Support
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income based Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support
Low income is defined as earnings less than £384.62 a week for a family or £257.69 a week for a single adult.
Who cannot apply
- have their living needs provided for them for example a person in hospital or a care home, a prisoner, a member of a religious order, a person in relevant education, except in cases where they are about to leave and return to the local community and can demonstrate a connection to Bracknell
- have assessed capital or savings more than £2000 (not including the value of their home) and who have access to those funds except where in cases, the cost of the emergency item exceeds this for example a replacement boiler
- are subject to immigration control or who have no recourse to public funds
- have earnings more than the Benefit Cap figure of £384.62 per week for a family or £257.69 per week for a single adult
- have received an award from the Bracknell Local Welfare Scheme in the past 12-month period unless there are exceptional circumstances and except in the case of a referral to the foodbank where 3 applications may be considered in a 12-month period
How to apply
You will need:
- to complete a financial assessment
- evidence of income for your household
- evidence of benefits received for your household
- eligibility that you have the right to reside
- residency in the borough
We aim to process applications in 5 working days of receipt of all relevant information.
Circumstances in which award will not be considered
In certain circumstances, support with immediate needs may be better met from another source and in such cases, we will signpost applicants to the source of assistance best suited to their needs. Such circumstances may be where the:
- need relates to a household item or repair that would be the responsibility of the landlord or owner of the property, the applicant will be supported to approach the responsible party for assistance
- applicant has refused to seek support from the responsible party to meet the need or has otherwise failed to seek to resolve the situation directly
- need relates to a rent deposit or rent in advance, in such cases, the applicant will be directed to the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme or the Housing Options team for support
Reviewing unsuccessful applications
This is a discretionary scheme and not every application will be successful. The scheme may close if funding exhausts before the end of the financial year and any future applications may not be possible.
There is no statutory right of review in this scheme. Applicants unsatisfied with the outcome of an application, may request a review.
Reviews requested must:
- be sent to Welfare and Housing Service in writing, and within 5 days of the notification of the award
- state the reasons that the applicant disagrees with the decision
- provide any further supporting evidence that may be relevant
Requests for review must be emailed to LWP@bracknell-forest.gov.uk.
Requests for review will be considered and we will notify applicants of the outcome of a review within 14 days of receipt of the request.
This decision will be final, and no further reviews will be accepted.
Financial inclusion and further support
Bracknell’s Local Welfare Scheme is only one form of support. Where applicable, we will be referred to third parties such as Citizens Advice for additional support.
If you would like to find out about benefits or other forms of support that may be available, the following websites offer a great deal of advice and other forms of support:
Bracknell Forest Council Local Welfare Scheme policy