22nd September 2023
Local Welfare Provision
Find help with short-term housing costs
What is Local Welfare Provision (LWP)?
The Local Welfare Provision scheme provides critical short-term help and assistance with limited one-off household goods. There is no statutory right to a grant and all awards are discretionary. We consider each application based on the circumstances of each applicant.
If you need help with food and/or fuel please visit our cost of living help hub.
If you are eligible to apply for a Budgeting Loan, Budgeting Advance, or Hardship Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions, you must do this before applying to our scheme. If you do not do so, we may deduct any value from a potential LWP award that we think that you may qualify to receive.
We are also not able to assist with general living expenses or cover a shortfall of income whilst awaiting the outcome of an application for benefit, such as Universal Credit.
Who can apply?
To apply for Local Welfare Provision you must be at least 16 years old and
- Be a resident of Wokingham Borough, or
- Have been housed out of the area by us, or
- Have moved to Wokingham Borough after leaving care or prison
- Not have savings that can be relied upon to meet your needs
- Not be excluded from applying for public funds on the basis of immigration status
- Not have received a Local Welfare Provision award in the past 6 months, unless they can demonstrate significant exceptional need
- Not have been refused a Local Welfare Provision award for the same need in the past 6 months, unless they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances
- Be without sufficient resources which would in turn cause serious risk to your own, or your family’s health or safety or well-being
- Not be eligible to receive or have received assistance for the requested funding or support from other public funds
- You need essential help to become established, or to remain, in the community
How to apply
You can download and print our application form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to our Offices at Shute End.
Documents needed to support your application
You will need to provide documents to support your application. This would include items such as identification, proof of address, proof of savings, income and any benefits you receive. We are likely to need this information for all the people who live with you. Read our Local Welfare Provision evidence (PDF document) for more details. You will find more details in our Local Welfare Provision Policy (PDF document.)
How will my application be assessed?
When we receive your application we will check
- Whether your claim meets our eligibility criteria
- Whether you should be making a claim on a different fund, and
- Whether there is still any Local Welfare Provision fund available
In addition, we will also have regard to your household circumstances, including:
- Any sources of credit such as cash cards, store cards, credit cards, cheque cards, cheque accounts, overdraft facilities or loan arrangements
- Any help which is likely to be available from other funds, such as Short Term Advances and Budgeting Advances issued by the Department for Work and Pensions or appropriate support facilities via 3rd Sector providers
- The financial circumstances of the applicant, any partner, their dependants and other occupiers of their household
- The income and expenditure of the applicant, any partner, their dependants and other occupiers of their household
- The level of indebtedness of the applicant and their family
- Any medical issues, or other exceptional needs, of the applicant, partner or dependants, or other members of their household
- Whether the circumstances of the applicant are such that a Local Welfare Provision award would alleviate the problems of the applicant
- The possible impact on the Council of not making such an award, e.g. the applicant becoming homeless and the costs associated with this
- Any other special circumstance of which we are aware
Read our Local Welfare Provision exclusion and priority consideration list (PDF document) for more details about how we assess applications.
How will I be paid?
Local Welfare Provision awards will usually be paid in the form of goods or services.
What if my application is unsuccessful or I disagree with your decision?
If you don’t agree with our decision, whether it is a refusal or against the level of an award, you can ask us to look again at the decision, or make an appeal. You must do so in writing within 1 month of the decision being made, setting out why you think our decision is wrong and giving us any additional information you can.
Where possible, we will try to resolve the matter by explaining the reasons for the decision either verbally or in writing.
Where agreement cannot be reached, the decision will then be reviewed by a different officer to the one who made the original decision. The officer will look at the case and decide whether to change the outcome or leave the original decision in place.
Because the fund is discretionary, you can't make an appeal to the Tribunal Service.
Other benefits you might be able to claim
If you aren't eligible for a Local Welfare Provision award, and in some cases, even if you are given an award, you might be able to claim for the following:
- Surestart Maternity Grants (a one-off payments to help towards the cost of having a child)
- Funeral Payments
- Cold Weather Payments (help towards heating costs for people on Benefits)
- Winter Fuel payments
- Budgeting Loans (help to pay for essentials, furniture, clothes, moving costs debts)
- Short-term Benefit Advances (get an advance on your first Benefit payment)
The above benefits should be claimed by you or your household in all instances if you meet the relevant qualifying criteria.
You can contact us for advice by
- Emailing email@example.com
For advice about debt visit the following websites:
- Citizens’ Advice website
- Money Advice Service website or call 0300 500 5000
- National Debtline website or call 0808 808 4000
- Stepchange website or call 0800 138 1111
Other sources of help
- Age UK website – second-hand furniture and electrical items
- British Heart Foundation website – stores sell a range of second-hand furniture, rugs and electrical items
- First Days website – a charity with a shop in Crowthorne that sells pre-loved baby equipment, clothes, furniture, toys and essential items
- Home Start UK website or call 0118 988 8025 - help for families
- Local budgeting loans on the Gov.uk website
- Salvation Army website - help, advice and online shop
- Sue Ryder website - superstore selling a variety of second hand goods, including furniture and electricals, with some new goods too
- Thames Valley Hospice Home website – sells a range of second-hand furniture and electrical items
- Turn2Us website or call 0808 802 2000 - help for people in financial need to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help
- Universal Credit advances on the Gov.uk website
- Wokingham Foodbank website
- Woodley Pilot Light Trust – provides a food store and a counselling / listening service
There are other organisations that provide help for which we act as a referral agency. We can determine if this is appropriate in your particular circumstances.