Nigel Brown from DIAL was invited to give a presentation on the performance of the drop-in sessions held in Penistone.
Members were reminded about DIAL and its work as a user led charitable organisation, first established in 1985.
The outreach sessions started on 7th January, 2016 at Penistone Town Hall, and were held each week. Members heard how 44 residents had now received face to face advice and the projected amount of unclaimed benefits generated through the session was £61,224. For every £1 invested the project had brought £25 in to the area.
It was noted that 90% of residents reported feeling less anxious as a result of using the service, and 100% reported that their health and wellbeing had improved three months after using the service. Members noted how 50% of residents attending the session did not have access to the internet, and many of the claim forms are now electronic. The meeting discussed this figure in some detail and it was agreed that this be disaggregated if possible, in order to ascertain if residents did not have access to the internet due to a lack of infrastructure or lack of skills.
The presentation went on to cover the areas of law the project had focused on, and the types of benefits for which advice had been given. Demographic data for users was then discussed.
Members gave thanks for the presentation and praised the project and its impact. Questions were asked regarding the demand for the service and plans should queuing become unmanageable. It was noted that demand for the service and the complexity of the assistance required is extremely hard to predict. Assurance was given that as many clients as possible are helped within the time available.
RESOLVED that thanks be given for the presentation and the work of DIAL in the area.