Diverse Abilities has received a grant of £48,000 from Nationwide Building Society as part of their Community Grants programme, which brings their members and colleagues together to help tackle the housing crisis.
The funding will enable Diverse Abilities’ Advice service to employ an advisor to provide support for adults with disabilities to obtain, renew or to obtain or appeal Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and other vital benefits people rely on. The already high need for this service has further increased due to the current cost of living crisis.
The Advice team also support people through benefit appeals, with an incredible success rate of 95%.
Many people with disabilities and mental health conditions are too unwell to cope with the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis and are unable to work in any attempt to increase their income, leading to rent arrears and rising debts. People in these desperate situations can feel isolated; benefit applications are stressful, seem incomprehensible, and the process often exacerbates peoples’ symptoms. This is often worsened further as too often people with disabilities live in accommodation unsuitable for their needs.
Elaine Ewing, advice service manager, Diverse Abilities said: “Our small advice team tackles these issues head on, supporting, advising, and guiding. We are currently a small team and struggling to meet the growing demand on the Advice Service, but this project will increase capacity immensely.
Not having assistance with the notoriously complex benefit processes means that people can miss out on benefits that they’re entitled to, these benefits are essential towards their living costs and result in them facing the risk of homelessness.
Due to lack of capacity to deal with the huge need for our support, we have had to prioritise people who are in absolute financial and housing crisis. However, thanks to the amazing support from Nationwide Building Society we will be able to reach people earlier before they are at crisis point. We hope that being able to access our service will make people feel supported and less isolated.”
This service will help those living with disability to maximise their income through their entitlement to benefits and therefore help them to recover from debt, rent arrears and ultimately aims to save them from eviction.
The project will support any adult with any disability, or family with a disabled child who are facing financial difficulty and/or facing eviction. Many people will access this support via referrals from housing officers and NHS services, or via other charities, but people can contact the charity directly too.
Britain’s biggest building society has run its Community Grants programme since 2017 – offering grants of up to £50,000 to local charities and projects, particularly those focussed on housing. This year, it’s awarded a total of £4.3 million to 96 housing related projects across the UK.
Craig Taylor, Senior Social Investment Manager at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Helping local communities and charities is at the heart of what it means to be a building society for Nationwide. We are pleased our Community Grants programme is going to make a difference through this £48,000 grant to Diverse Abilities helping them make a difference to the lives of those who rely on their services.”
Over the last five years, Nationwide Building Society has awarded £22 million to housing charities up and down the UK. That means almost 118,500 people are now living safer, happier lives. From April 2023, Nationwide will be offering new grant applicants up to £60,000 to support those in housing need.