Welfare reform has had an increasing impact on the level of demand for services not only as more people have needed our support, but also as the number of issues individual clients are facing has increased. Each issue compounds the next and we are finding people in increasingly dire situations, people are going without food, heat or even running water.
Luton Irish Forum runs a specialist welfare advice service for Irish and other community members. Each year we work with hundreds of people in Luton and the surrounding counties to improve their income, housing, access to health and social care services. We secure over a million pounds in benefits, grants, refunds and entitlements for our clients each year. The Centre’s services are accredited by the Advice Quality Standard including Welfare Benefits Casework.
- Appointments 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday
- Emergency drop in for those have no home, money or are at risk of eviction
- Outreach to those who cannot easily access our centre
- Telephone and email advice
The service is open, and fully accessible to all those who require information, advice and advocacy such as completing applications for Irish, UK benefits and tax concessions and support with accessing statutory services. Several issues are dealt with at once including:
- Welfare benefits
- Community care
- Irish welfare benefits
- Applications for Irish Passports
- Information for Irish and Polish people who are considering moving
to or who have just arrived in Luton thisisluton.com
- Information on returning to Ireland
- Representation at appeals
- Support with accessing health and social care services
- Access to LIF’s programme of activities
‘The organisation is assisting people who often present with long-term health issues, disabilities, mental health issues and alcohol dependency. Managing advice requirements in these circumstances can be more challenging and it is a credit to the organisation that it is able to manage client expectations and not receive a higher level of complaints from its clients. The Caseworkers interviewed demonstrated a great depth of ability in meeting the needs of the clients and the organisation provides advocacy support at tribunals and hearings as well as ‘paper based’ advice.’
‘Once again I would like to thank you very much for your help with the Discretionary Housing Payment form… By the way, the shower room is excellent! I haven’t felt this clean in months, and it’s all down to you. It has been very difficult lately as my wrists and shoulders have started to go the same way as my knees… You are a treasure, many thanks for all your help.’
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