Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves
Mon 29th January 2024
Centres which assist low income, unemployed, injured and disabled residents across Amber Valley – including the centres in Alfreton and Somercotes – have been given the green light for a total of £80,000 of council funding over the next four years.
Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC) has announced that the authority has signed off on the financial package worth £20,000 a year until 2027 for Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centres (DUWC).
Councillor Chris Emmas-Williams, Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, said he was “delighted” to reinstate funding for the centres, many of which are “a lifeline for local community residents.”
Cllr Emmas-Williams said: “These centres are essential. Our area has been dominated by industries that are now in decline and as a result, residents have been hit hardest by job cuts and closures.
“These centres provide help, advice and representation on everything from how to navigate the complex benefits system, to applying for PIP or pension credit, or fighting for compensation following an industrial injury.
“We are in a cost-of-living crisis and the advice given at these centres can help residents in our area maximise their incomes in these difficult times.”
In Amber Valley alone, since 2019, around £3.4million in allowances, missed claims and compensation, has been secured for residents, according to the councillor.
DUWC has been providing free and independent welfare rights advice for the last 40 years. Working alongside Citizens Advice, Derbyshire Law Centre and the NHS, the organisation was first established in Chesterfield in 1993. There are now 18 additional centres across the county, with Amber Valley residents able to access services locally in Heanor, Alfreton, Somercotes and Belper.
Cllr Emmas-Williams added that he has been “attuned to the needs of this sector of the community for some years” with funding for the centres one of his “top priorities.”
The Labour councillor said: “We came into power in May 2023 and set about reinstating this funding as soon as we were able. We would have liked to have funded them sooner.
“However, we have now addressed this and set aside £20,000 a year, which will continue for the following three years to help fund these local centres, alongside parish, town and other borough councils.”
A council spokesman added that “the centres also receive funding from charitable trusts.”
Pictured is councillor Chris Emmas-Williams.
To read more Spirit of Alfreton articles about Amber Valley Borough Council, go to here
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