£250k innovation money is available

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Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, has called on organisations in the borough to apply for funding from a £250,000 pot to support benefit uptake activities.

As part of this year’s Benefit Uptake Programme, the Social Security Agency (SSA) is offering funding to community and voluntary organisations in Co. Londonderry who can come up with, and take forward, innovative ideas to reach members of the public who are not receiving all the social security benefits they are entitled to.

Minister McCausland said: “This is a new way of working for the Agency. It is trying, through further partnership working, to test new and innovative ways of reaching people who may not be claiming their full benefit entitlement.

“I would encourage organisations with knowledge of customers’ unclaimed benefit entitlement, barriers to claiming benefit, and ideas of how the barriers can be overcome for their customer group, to apply for this funding.”

Details of how to apply for the Innovation Fund are available at: http://www.e-sourcingni.bravosolution.co.uk. Successful awards will be made from September.

Minister McCausland added: “With the continued increase in household bills, there is no better time for this type of partnership working to explore new and additional services that may be successful in further increasing benefit uptake, thus ensuring we reach those people who are entitled.”

The £250,000 Innovation Fund will be provided for organisations to test new or enhanced approaches to improving the uptake of benefits. This is in addition to the activities the SSA already takes forward.

Community and voluntary organisations can bid for funding for a maximum period of 12 months to enable them to carry out activities to increase the uptake of benefits.

This is the first time that the Social Security Agency has incorporated an Innovation Fund in its benefit uptake programme.

The aim of the programme is to provide people with the opportunity to check if there are any benefits they are missing out on.

Details of the Innovation Fund are available at: http://www.e-sourcingni.bravosolution.co.uk. Bids will be evaluated and successful awards will be made, beginning in September.