March 10 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
An east coast charity that helps thousands of disabled people struggling with debt has secured almost £250,000 to reach more residents.
Great Yarmouth DIAL is celebrating after its bid to support more than 2,000 local people avoid debt and better manage their finances was approved by the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund.
The small charity, based in George Street, already deals with more than 4,000 enquiries a year from people experiencing high levels of debt and low incomes.
The Big Lottery cash will ensure their work with disabled and vulnerable people can continue for the next three years. It will help the organisation recruit more community volunteers and allow them to put on more advice surgeries across the borough.
Celebrating the news, DIAL project manager Jo Howes - who earlier this year voiced fears the charity could fold - said: “Times are really tough for some people right now, and we wanted to make sure DIAL was going to be around next year, and beyond, to continue with our important work.
“Thanks to the Big Lottery and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, who supported us with the application, it will be business as usual next year instead of closure. That is a big relief to everyone.”
The grant, which totals £247,172, is especially timely as residents look to make sense of a range of new welfare reform measures, including changes to housing and council tax benefits and the replacement of Disability Living Allowance by Personal Independence Payments.
It is hoped the grant will not only help individuals but make a valuable contribution to the local economy.
DIAL estimates by helping people to maximise their incomes and budget more carefully, it has retained more than £1m for Yarmouth’s economy during the last 12 months.
“This work alone represents an impressive £10 return on investment for every £1 of funding,” said Ms Howes.
As part of their preparation for making an application to the Big Lottery, DIAL surveyed more than 100 of their clients.
The survey showed:
•That DIAL is the first point of contact for many local residents who require money, debt and benefit advice.
•A high level of satisfaction for the service provided, with 100% of respondents describing the service as very helpful.
•A high level of recognition and awareness of DIAL amongst local communities, with almost 50% of referrals being generated by word of mouth.
Simon O’Leary, Great Yarmouth manager of Voluntary Norfolk said: “DIAL’s successful Big Lottery award is fantastic news for the borough.
“DIAL’s staff and volunteers provide invaluable support and advice, not only to our residents who are facing increasingly difficult and often complex financial and social pressures; but also crucially for our local voluntary and community sector, who frequently rely on DIAL’s expertise and support in keeping informed and up-to-date on changes to welfare and benefit entitlements.
Cllr Penny Linden, borough council cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a very welcome award from the Big Lottery, made at a critical time for our residents, who clearly value the services provided by DIAL.
“Over the last year in particular, the council has been working closely with DIAL to make sure our communities are prepared for the government’s welfare reform changes. This work has helped many people to adjust their budgets, to stay in their homes, and to avoid getting into huge amounts of debt.”
For more details, on DIAL, which has a charity shop at Broad Row in Yarmouth, visit www.dial-greatyarmouth.org.uk.
For details on becoming a volunteer call 01493 856900 Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.