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Pulling Together to Navigate Welfare Benefits

The LHF has commissioned SITRA and SHP to create a unique new training package for homeless people and frontline workers.

The benefits landscape is rapidly changing, and homeless people and those who work in the sector need to keep up to date.  These new training resources will provide real and tangible advice and guidance, based on people’s experience of the system.

Lisa Harrison is Deputy Chief Executive of SITRA.  She said: “We know that the benefits system is complex and so wanted to work with the the real experts – people experiencing the system – to design this training package.  We worked with people who were homeless and the staff who advised them to find out what they felt they needed to know.  Sitra ran a series of workshops with SHP staff and clients to design and build the materials.  There is lots of information we could include, but these workshops prioritised what people who used the system told us was the most important and included them as partners in the production of these resources.”

The training package will be available online and be free for anyone to use.  The initial four modules will look at Universal Credit, Under 35s and Resettlement, the Work Programme and the new Personal Independence Payment.  The resources will be continuously updated and more modules could be added over time.

“Pulling Together” will be launched at NCVO on 28 January 2013.  As well as a chance to see the materials and test out the training, some of the people who helped design and write the courses will be on hand to give their views.

Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of SITRA, said: “By bringing clients and staff together with benefit specialists, we could co produce resources that talked to people’s real experience of the system and changes.  We call this process coproduction. The key is in the title – Pulling Together”.

Margaret Malcolm is Acting Director at the London Housing Foundation.  She said: “This is a progressive and exciting programme.  By genuinely involving people who need the help, SITRA and SHP have produced an excellent set of resources.”

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