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Cumbria Be the Change Network: Welfare Reform

Be the Change Network, a community of practice, met to hear about the changes to the welfare system and the anticipated impact. 

Following the re-launch in February, of Homeless Link’s Be the Change Network; a community of practice (CoPs) of frontline staff, working to combat homelessness across Cumbria, met to hear about the changes to the welfare system and the anticipated impact. 

Attendees came from a range of working environments; from supported housing specialising in young people’s provision and countywide, to local authority staff. All having a shared responsibility and interest in improving the experiences of those at risk of, or currently experiencing homeless in Cumbria. Not everyone had attended the network’s meetings previously, and it was lovely to welcome new colleagues to the group.

Chris Brill from Homeless Link’s policy team, presented primarily on the introduction of Universal Credit by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which started in 2015 with a target for full coverage by 2018. With the partial coverage currently in the region, some colleagues had experience of navigating the new system, and were happy to share best practice. Clear examples were given of positive collaboration between local Job Centre staff and work coaches, which delegates felt they would like to see replicated region-wide.

The network meets quarterly and will continue with the theme of Welfare Reform in late summer, inviting colleagues from DWP to network and nurture a symbiotic working relationship that will best serve clients in Cumbria, particularly those with multiple and complex needs.

Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

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