Local Assistance Scheme
Helping families in greatest need
The Local Assistance Scheme (LAS) provides emergency assistance for Surrey residents in a crisis or those needing help to set up or keep their home in the community.
It’s open to all residents as long as they meet the following conditions:
- They are aged over 16.
- They live in Surrey (or have an intention to reside in Surrey).
- They are either on a means tested benefit or unable to access sufficient funds.
It provides financial support to those who are unable to meet their own needs or the needs of their dependants on Visa payment cards. It can assist those who need help to set up a home in the community by providing household items.
To use the scheme visit one of the 16 participating Citizen’s Advice Bureaux (CABs)** in Surrey. You will get all the support you need from highly skilled advisors. The scheme can also be accessed with the support of a professional or voluntary agency.
The LAS can consider requests to:
- feed a family
- provide emergency clothing
- provide emergency transport
- provide essential household items.
The LAS will consider any request; but it will not be able to help pay debts, bills, arrears or housing related costs.
The LAS expects to help people from the following groups experiencing a crisis or emergency:
- low income families
- those escaping domestic abuse
- those with substance or alcohol misuse problems, which mean they are homeless
- those with long term illnesses
- those leaving institutions such as care homes or prisons.
The LAS will consider applications from anyone and access is not restricted to the above list.
Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and decisions are made at the time of application. Those applying will be provided with advice and practical support to reduce their need for crisis support in the future.
Samantha* visited the CAB when her partner left the family home and took everything. Samantha was left with five young children and no access to her money. It was going to take 3-4 weeks for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to make a payment to help her feed her children and keep the house warm and with light. Her cupboards, fridge and freezer were empty and the gas and electricity meter was about to run out – Samantha and her young family were isolated with no friends or family to help.
Sadly the situation Samantha found herself in happens often in Surrey. Fortunately for Samantha, after a short telephone application whilst she was at the CAB, the Local Assistance Scheme was able to provide her with enough money to feed the family. Over the next few weeks, the CAB helped her to re-instate the payments she needed to feed her children and manage on her own.
* We have changed Samantha’s name to protect her identity.
Matthew and his wife Christine attended the CAB when their fridge-freezer broke down and they lost £180 of food for them and their four children. Matthew is a full time carer for his wife who is terminally ill. The family are struggling with debt repayments that have increased since Christine’s illness has worsened. They had no money to replace the food in the fridge-freezer, and the prospect of buying a new fridge-freezer was clouded by fear of adding to the increasing debt. The Local Assistance Scheme was able to provide money on a prepaid card for the family to buy the essential food they needed and they were also provided with a replacement fridge-freezer within 48 hours of making the application.
For more information and ways to apply go to: www.surreycc.gov.uk/localassistancescheme
See the Citizen’s Advice Surrey website for contact details, ** participating CABs are listed below,: