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Community Support Scheme (replacing the Social Fund)

The Community Support Scheme is a discretionary scheme which exists to help Darlington’s most vulnerable qualifying residents.  Funding for the scheme is limited and we consider the total number of people applying and what funds are available when making a decision.  There are two forms of award that can be made:

  • Crisis support awards refers to an urgent need as a consequence of an emergency, disaster, unforeseen circumstance or pressing need that is strikingly different from pressures generally associated with managing on a low income and where a household has insufficient resources to meet urgent an urgent need that poses an immediate and substantial risk to their health and safety.
  • Community care support awards to help people remain in the community or move back into the community after a period in supported or unsettled accommodation.

Crisis support awards

To get Crisis support, you must meet one of the following:

  • you have suffered a disaster to your home such as major flooding, gas explosion or house fire
  • your health or the health of your partner or a child will immediately deteriorate if you do not receive support. You or your partner who lives with you must also be receiving treatment, care or support because you are disabled, seriously ill, homeless, pregnant or have some other support need

In addition, you will only get support if you do not have immediate access to any other form of financial assistance.

What support will I get?

If you qualify for support, we may be able to provide you with:

  • vouchers for essential clothing
  • payment cards to top up prepayment utility meters
  • arrangement of a taxi if you need to travel to emergency accommodation

In most cases support provided will usually last no longer than 7 days. 

Can I get cash payments?

No - we will not make cash payments, or payments into your bank account under any circumstances.

How do I apply for help?

To apply for crisis support, you will need to call the assessment centre on 01325 249849, or you can get someone else, such as a support worker to call on your behalf.

If you do not have access to a telephone, you can call into Darlington Citizens Advice Bureau, where you can call the assessment line utilising their phone. 

The Telephone Line operates from 10.00 am until 1:00 pm and from 2:00 pm until 4.00 pm daily (with the exception of bank holidays).  Please note that in order to ensure that a qualifying award is made on the day of application it must be made before 1.00pm.  Successful applications made after 1.00pm will be awarded the following day.

Appeals process

Appeals can be made in writing, verbally or by email and must be made within one calendar month of the decision.  The appeal can be made by the applicant, their appointee, their carer, their advocate or a third party, with the applicant’s consent where appropriate.

Where an appeal is made a review will be conducted by a different assessor and the outcome will be notified verbally over the telephone and confirmed in writing.

Community care support

Who can get support?

To qualify for community care support, you must meet both of the following:

  • you require support to
    • move back into the community after a stay in supported or temporary accommodation
    • move out of inappropriate accommodation
    • stay in your home and prevent a move into residential care or hospital
    • prevent a serious deterioration of health within your home
  • you or your partner who lives with you must also be receiving treatment, care or support because you are disabled, seriously ill, homeless, pregnant or have some other support need

In addition, you will only get support if you do not have any excess income or capital that could be used to meet some or all of the support you need.

What support will I get?

If you qualify for support, we may be able to provide you with:

  • beds or bedding
  • second-hand furniture (chairs, sofas, tables and wardrobes)
  • white goods
  • pans, utensils, crockery and cutlery
  • storage or removal costs

Can I get cash payments?

We will not make cash payments, or payments into your bank account under any circumstances.

How do I apply for help?

Applications for community care support must be made by a specialist provider, such as a housing officer, support worker or social worker.

Applying for a community care support:

Approved partners – can make an online application via the portal.  External organisation wishing to make applications on behalf of service users can obtain an application form by emailing the assessment centre:  communitysupport@darlingtoncab.co.uk  

Should you or your provider experience difficulty in accessing or progressing the online e-form you can contact the Community Care Assessment Line on 01325 249848 operational from 10.00am to 4.00pm daily (except bank holidays).

How long will it take?

Crisis support awards made before 1.00pm will be made on the day, successful awards will be made the following day.

Community care support awards which meet the criteria will be made within 10working days of all the information being received by the assessment unit. 

What you can’t get Community and Crisis Support for:

  • non-essential electrical goods such as television or radio
  • carpets and flooring
  • school uniforms
  • interview clothing
  • veterinarian fees
  • paying off debts
  • expenses for your car, van or motorbike
  • regular housing or accommodation rent or arrears payments
  • rent in advance payments
  • funeral costs
  • water charges
  • maternity expenses
  • cost of domestic assistance and respite care
  • any medical service including medication
  • holiday, telephone or court fees
  • addiction purposes, including alcohol and cigarettes

Other forms of support

Most social housing providers offer furnished tenancy packages to tenants. Where available, households will be expected to use these forms of support rather than the Community Support Scheme.

Budgeting support and alternative grant submissions  

Applicants who have been found not to meet the criteria of the Community Support Scheme will have the opportunity to be referred to a CAB trained adviser who will support them by considering the availability of any grants and through the provision of budgeting training. 

Support with food:

There are various foodbank outlets across Darlington; the following is a non-exhaustive listing:

Kings Church provide the following: The King’s Centre Wed and Fri – 1pm-3pm St Mary’s Community Centre Cockerton Thursday 1pm 3pm St Andrew’s Hall Thursday 1:30pm-2:30pm  St Columba’s Friday 11am-12pm

A soup kitchen service is also available via Grange Road Baptist Church on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 12.15 – 13.15.

Out of hours emergency support

The following emergency support is available out of office hours:

700 Club [external link] - Emergency Food Parcels provided weekdays after 5pm and during the weekend

First Stop Darlington [external link] - provide housing related support and signposting Monday to Thursday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

Appeals process

Appeals can be made in writing, verbally or by email and must be made within one calendar month of the decision.  The appeal can be made by the applicant, their appointee, their carer, their advocate or a third party, with the applicant’s consent where appropriate.

Where an appeal is made a review will be conducted by a different assessor and the outcome will be notified verbally over the telephone and confirmed in writing.

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