More than £400,000 in annual benefit entitlements for city residents has been identified, as part of a week of money advice activities.
The figures have been revealed following a five-day Money Matters campaign last month, involving councils and organisations that work to support residents.
The success of the event builds on two previous campaigns in November 2016 and July 2017, with a total of more than £1.5m in unclaimed benefits being identified across all three activities.
The week of events saw activities take place across Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme in empty shops, market stalls, local centres, libraries and children’s centres with local people able to benefit from expert advice and money saving tools.
Councillor Abi Brown, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for finance and partnerships, said: “These activities are to support local residents, to help ensure that they receive the benefits they are entitled to.
“The events are fully supported by all partners and are proving to be a great success.”
Money Matters Week is an initiative by the area’s Financial Inclusion Group which sees Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council work with a range of partner organisations including Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizen’s Advice Bureau. The activities also enable organisations to develop connections and share skills and knowledge.
Activities last month were attended by Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Ross Irving and Newcastle-under-Lyme Lord Mayor Simon White. They both gained insights into the financial capability work available from Citizens Advice Bureau teams.
Citizens Advice supervisor Shameem Richardson said: “These events bring together experts from a wide range of organisations across the area. They help to increase awareness of the services available and provide benefit checks and basic advice to members of the public in places they might not expect to find us.”
Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizen’s Advice Bureau chief executive Simon Harris said: “As household budgets come under increasing pressure from rising prices, shrinking benefits, stagnating wages and rising interest rates, it is more important than ever that people can manage their money as well as possible.
“We can help people make the most of their money and help them claim the benefits they may be missing out on.
“Each year £50m that local people are entitled to goes unclaimed. That is a massive loss to the local economy as well as to the families who need it most. The more we can help people claim the benefit, the better it is for them and the area.”