A Hartlepool charity is helping people stay safe while they seek advice.

A Hartlepool charity is helping people stay safe while they seek advice.

West View Advice and Resource Centre offers support around welfare benefits, debt and disability. The centre plans to reopen, but wanted their visitors and staff to be safe.

Funding helps Hartlepool team

A £3,000 grant from County Durham Community Foundation allowed the team to buy phone headsets, provide face masks, put up screens and equip rooms with hand sanitiser.

Val Evans from West View Advice and Resource Centre said:

“Without this funding we wouldn’t have been able to put safety measures in place. Which in turn would have impacted on so many lives. 

“During this time, people who have never used the welfare benefit system before have turned to us for advice.

“The funding has ensured our friendly and knowledgeable staff have been on the end of a “headset” leaving us hands free to complete forms and paperwork for people in need.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our clients back into the office building very soon.”

The centre helps people living in poverty by supporting them with debt, disability, tribunals and appeals and personal problems.

Many clients are at risk of isolation, and held back by low income and poor health. The town has above average rates of unemployment and fewer jobs available for people of working age. Hartlepool has significantly more residents with long term illness than most other local authorities.

Cancer is a particular problem – Hartlepool has a higher than national average incidence of cancer (which accounts for 33% of Hartlepool deaths), and significantly higher numbers for lung cancer.

Over 14 weeks of Covid-19 grant making, County Durham Community Foundation has made 219 awards totalling £1,110,764 . The smallest grant was £100 and the largest £30,000. These funds are supporting 196,000 people across County Durham, Darlington and Tees Valley