National heroes’ who protect residents from the worst effects of poverty have come together in Salford.
100 welfare rights advisers from across the country were welcomed by City Mayor Paul Dennett at the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA) conference on Friday 1 March.
NAWRA is a membership based organisation for social welfare advice providers across the UK. Its aims are to challenge, influence and improve welfare rights policy and legislation; and to be a national voice for welfare rights advisers.
In the past year alone, Salford City Council’s own team of welfare rights advisers have helped thousands of local people to secure an £5 million of social security benefits they are entitled to.
The NAWRA conference is attended by a strong national network of specialist advisers who come together to share expert knowledge and experience and to influence government policy,
Keynote speaker, Professor Lisa Scullion from the University of Salford, who leads the Salford Anti-Poverty Taskforce with Salford City Council, discussed learning lessons from the lived experiences of people across the UK who are facing difficulties navigating the contemporary benefits system.
And Catherine Connors, Head of Salford’s Debt and Advice Service, addressed the network on the vital role of advice services in safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “These welfare rights advisers are national heroes who are doing all they can to protect people from the worst effects of poverty. We know that Universal Credit is making life harder for many of our residents so this work is vital.
“Our Welfare Rights advisers work tirelessly alongside specialist Debt Advisers to provide people with free, independent advice and representation to access their basic rights to social security and challenge unfair Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decisions. They support people who are facing the worry of bailiffs or eviction from their homes.
“Spending on welfare benefits for the UK’s poorest families will have shrunk by nearly a quarter after a decade of austerity. It is important that we do all we can to help people through these difficult times.