Dan Barnett, Steve Ritson and Nicky Willshere celebrate the funding award from the National Lottery Community Fund with flags

National Lottery award for Citizens Advice Ipswich secures continued specialist welfare benefit advice


National Lottery award for Citizens Advice Ipswich secures continued specialist welfare benefit advice

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded Citizens Advice Ipswich funding to continue to deliver specialist welfare benefits advice and support for the next five years.

This award means our dedicated specialist team can continue to support clients to apply for benefits, check eligibility, challenge benefit decisions, undertake appeals, and clarify complex decision-making.

Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich, Nicky Willshere, explained: “We are so grateful that this vital specialist service supporting clients will continue, thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund.

 “Our Welfare Benefits Team support a vulnerable and growing client group. we couldn’t offer the high level of help to the people who need it.

“So many people, especially those with health conditions, struggle to navigate the welfare benefits system and our expert advisers are able to lighten the emotional load along the way.”

From January to December 2023 the team’s work resulted in a total of over £1,263,885 increased income across almost 600 clients.  

But as this client’s feedback makes clear the help is not simply financial: “I had an enormous amount of stress taken off my shoulders. I could not have moved forward without the help I received from the adviser. He is a true asset at Citizens Advice.”

Dan Barnett, Specialist Welfare Benefits Adviser said: “The impact of Covid on mental health and now the repercussions of cost of living increases to households has driven up the demand for support in understanding the rules around benefits claims as well as the complex application process.

“The changes to the Welfare Benefits criteria to give greater weight to mental health issues has also resulted in far more enquiries on claiming benefits.  Many households are struggling and hope that our support to claim the welfare benefits that they are entitled to will help them become more financially stable.”

The National Lottery Community Fund recently launched its new strategy, ‘It starts with community’, which will underpin its efforts to distribute at least £4 billion of National Lottery funding by 2030.

As part of this, the funder has four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives.

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund was able to distribute over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities. To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk