Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WONEWS to 80360, or email
Otley council continues funding to help people over money
Otley Town Council is teaming up with the local Citizens Advice Bureau again – this time to help people who will be hit by changes to welfare benefits.
The council has already funded two 13-week advice sessions at the CAB offices, the second of which has just ended, to help residents struggling with rising fuel and heating costs.
Now it has allocated £4,000 to fund further sessions that will also support anyone affected by the wide range of benefits changes that are being brought in by the Government.
Otley CAB co-ordinator Ailsa Bearpark said: “We’re delighted that the town council has voted to fund a further season of advice sessions.
“Starting in September, the Tuesday morning sessions will be focusing on fuel, insulation and welfare benefits issues for Otley residents.
“With rising fuel costs and changes to the benefits system on the horizon, we are teaming up to ensure our community is given the best possible support in these challenging circumstances.
“Leeds City Council has already started trying to brief the community about the benefits changes but there will, naturally, be a lot of concern and a need for advice over that time of disruption.
“We’d like to think we're working in conjunction with the city and town councils to give the community the best possible transition with the changes.
“Just having a friendly face there to sit and talk things through is very helpful for people, and to be able to extend our opening hours to offer that advice to more people, with the support of the town council, is fantastic.”
Councillor Kevin Cooney said: “I think the emphasis of the advice sessions now will shift towards the impact of the Welfare Reform Bill, and all the changes to benefits that are coming in as a result – especially for disabled people, with the Disability Liviing Allowance going and the introduction of Personal Independence Payments.
“We know a lot of people will be affected and hope, by funding these additional CAB sessions, it will offer them some help.
“The work CAB did to help people with fuel poverty was very successful.
“The numbers of people they saw for the 13 weeks the latest sessions ran were considerably up on last time and the success rate was high.
“Those who were helped included an 83-year-old woman, with ill health, who was worried about her rising fuel costs.
“The action taken to help her was to contact the supplier, check out the tariff, look at her payment method to see if savings could be made, and to make sure the supplier knew she was a vulnerable person. She was then referred to Care and Repair Leeds, which does great work helping vulnerable residents with energy efficiency."
The new CAB advice sessions will run between 9.30am and 12.30pm from September until the end of March, 2014.