Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS)
Cambridge & District Citizens Advice is working with the following organisations to support the Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS):
- Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire
- CHS Group
- Cambridge Re-Use
- Ferry Project
- Cambridgeshire Community Reuse and Recycling Network (CCORRN).
2020 was the second year for us to be one of the key partners in this important project that gives help to individuals. The scheme provides information, advice and one-off practical support and assistance to people who live in Cambridgeshire during times of exceptional pressure (subject to eligibility).
What is the Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme?
Funded from the County Council and administered by CHS, we act as one of the main champions with an annual budget to allocate to individuals of £16,800. Through this we can help people with white goods, help with furnishing their homes (mostly recycled goods via Reuse), food and other vouchers. More importantly we – along with Rural Cambridge CAB – are the only 2 agencies funded to provide advice to claimants, whether they get a voucher or not. Not surprisingly much of that advice is around household finances and income maximisation. Quite a few of these clients end up being referred onto other areas of our work, for example Personal Budgeting Advice.
Applicants to the Scheme must have lived in Cambridgeshire for at least six months unless they have fled to the area for their own safety.
To apply to the Scheme you must have no savings and receive one of the following means-tested benefits:
- Income Support
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
If you are working, your total household income must be below the HMRC low income threshold (£16,385 for 2020/21).
Before making a grant award we will complete a comprehensive assessment of need. If a CLAS award is appropriate this will be one or more of:
- Recycled white goods and furniture (limited during CV-19)
- New white goods (by exception only if a recycled good cannot be sourced)
- Supermarket vouchers (food and clothes - only in emergencies)
How can I access CLAS?
You cannot apply directly to the scheme, but if you are eligible (see criteria above), you can apply through Cambridge Citizens Advice – please visit us (see our locations and opening times here) or use the email form.
You will need to provide proof of eligibility, such as benefits letters or bank statements.
If you are a professional referring a client to the CLAS scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send you forms to complete with the client and return, and once we have received the completed forms, we will offer the client an appointment.
We can offer “fast track” appointments for clients in urgent need.
Please note that clients will be required to complete an initial assessment and provide proof of income/benefits to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria.