Universal Credit rolls out to North Kensington Jobcentre Plus on Wednesday 12th December – anyone in the area making a new claim for benefits or experiencing a change in circumstances will be asked to make a claim for Universal Credit.
Since the fire at Grenfell Tower last year, the Department for Work & Pensions has worked closely with community groups, local residents, and the local authority to handle all benefit claim cases as sensitively as possible.
The decision was made to move the roll-out of Universal Credit in North Kensington from July 2017 to December 2018 – those coping with such a devastating event should not be asked to take on additional tasks.
Jobcentre staff delivered support on the ground to people affected, easing work-search requirements and making significant immediate payments to many affected, including £500 in emergency cash and £5,000 for each household made permanently homeless. Staff worked tirelessly to get support to those affected and reassure locals who were concerned about ongoing support.
In preparation for the roll-out, the DWP has created a range of special provisions for people living in North Kensington, to make sure the community continues to receive support as it recovers from the tragedy.
Targeted support from experienced jobcentre work coaches is already available in the area. These specially-trained teams work closely with residents, local authorities, and Citizens Advice to ensure residents affected by Grenfell get the support they need.
A work coach dedicated to supporting residents affected by Grenfell and in receipt of benefits will be available, as well as a housing officer in the jobcentre on an ongoing basis to address any housing issues residents might face. All work coaches at the jobcentre have received additional mental health training.
Dedicated activity programmes and courses are available at The Curve Community Centre, set up following the Grenfell Tower fire. These courses include IT, employability, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Bespoke courses and workshops to support the well-being of residents are also available.
People currently receiving legacy benefits in the area will continue to receive benefits as usual, and won’t need to make a claim for Universal Credit unless their circumstances change. Advances of up to 100 per cent are available from day one for those with an eligible claim who need urgent support.
Our staff are trained to support residents throughout the claims process. We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach or visit www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk for more information.
North Kensington Jobcentre Plus: 308-312 Quayside House, Kensal Road, W10 5BE
The Curve Community Centre: 10 Bard Road, London, W10 6TP. Phone: 020 7221 9836
Universal Credit: 0800 328 9344
New benefit claims: 0800 055 6688
Existing benefit claims: 0800 169 0310
Make a jobcentre appointment: 0800 328 9344