Reading Voluntary Action hosted a Wellbeing Forum for the voluntary and community sector on Friday.
We heard from Kam Purewall and Sarah Bow from Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups’ Long Term Conditions Programme Board and explored how voluntary organisations can (and are already) contributing to some of the priorities of the Board. There were lively discussions around case studies that Kam and Sarah presented. For example:
- Mary has been caring for her husband since he had a stroke 3 years ago. She is feeling exhausted and lonely. She has started to worry about the impact is having on her own health and wellbeing.
- Jack has been admitted to hospital following a fall. His mobility is limited and he has expressed concerns about feeling alone and having low moods. He is struggling with his diet and has started drinking more alcohol.
We will follow up with Kam and Sarah on the key points and actions from the discussions and invite them back to a future Forum. I hope we can hear some specific examples of how voluntary organisations are contributing to the priorities of the Long Term Conditions Board and to the quality of life for residents in care home.
“We both agreed that we had found the workshop really helpful, and it was especially good to meet more colleagues from the community and voluntary sector”. SarahBow
Andrew Donachie and Jamie Webb told us about the support available from Reading Borough Council for people affected by the benefit cap and people struggling to manage their debts. There was stark data about the affects for the benefit cap. The cap was was reduced in November 2016 and affected 352 households in Reading
- Single parents/Couples – benefit cap now £384.62 per week (reduction of £115.38 per week)
- Single claimants – benefit cap now £257.69 (reduction of £92.31 per week)
The choices available to households affected are not easy especially in an area of high employment and high rents, such as gaining paid work and have an entitlement to Working Tax Credits, finding cheaper accommodation or paying the difference. Many voluntary organisations are already supporting clients to overcome barriers to employment. Andy and Jamie are keen to continue working with the voluntary sector to support vulnerable people in financial hardship.
Jamie and Andy will be running a further session on these topics for voluntary organisations who would like to find out more about supporting people affected by the benefit cap and through the introduction of universal credit in December. The workshop will be on Thursday 14th September – more details to follow.