Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent

CASNS manage a pooled destitution fund between 4 partner organisations.

Organisation Profile

How many people do you give destitution payments to each month?

10 on average 

How do you decide who gets payments?

There is no formal criteria, workers are trusted to know if someone is in urgent need and that they aren't able to access funds elsewhere. There’s a general understanding about what it is for (food, travel to appointments), how much can be given (usually £10 payment) and that payments are one-off not continuous. 

How did you make destitution payments before Covid-19?

We have a pooled destitution fund between four multi-agency partner organisations (Jubilee Project, Stoke CAB, the health team, ASHA). Each partner can access the fund and make ad hoc, cash payments provided in person to people who need them.  

How do you make payments now?

We are not currently issuing payments. The partnership organisations have stopped face to face delivery and are working remotely so we have reduced opportunities to know if someone is in need and no/limited ways of getting a payment to someone who is. If they were to make a payment it would have to be delivered by hand or posted.

Might you stick with this method going forward?

We strongly believe in the need for face to face services, but there would be potential for the scheme to be more efficient if there was a better way of making remote payments. 

What practical advice would you give to other organisations?

Be very flexible.

Try to ensure that payments can be issued through organisations who are seeing clients regularly, eg. those who are providing support/food parcels/befriending and who have a good geographical spread. It needs to be easy for people in need to access the fund where they attend and don’t have to spend money travelling for help.

Don’t waste time and resources on complex administration.

How do you get funding for Destitution Payments?

The main partner fundraises through events, appeals and sponsored activities throughout the year. The easiest method though is regular standing orders from supporters.