Merlin helps people get online and get ready for welfare reform
Published by Hywel LLoyd for Merlin Housing Society in Housing and also in Communities, Universal Credit
Merlin staff are going out to discuss welfare reform and helping people get online.
As part of National Get Online week and continuing efforts to help people get ready for welfare reforms, Merlin Housing Society is running a series of events to help its customers tackle ‘digital by default’.
As well as general advice on budgeting, the Money Management Roadshows aim to prepare people in South Gloucestershire for the Government requirement that new benefit applications can only be done online.
“Universal Credit hasn’t been introduced in our area yet, but when it does, we want our customers to be ready for it,” says the organisation’s Welfare Reform Co-ordinator Marcelle Targett.
“They’ll be getting nearly all their benefits in one lump sum, paid into the bank, building society or credit union account of one person in their household, once a month.
“That means that they need to have a bank account in the first place, be able to make their money stretch and be confident on the internet, as in the future, all benefit applications will need to be made online.
“We can help them with all that. Our expert teams will be out and about with other specialist from the local council, Bristol Debt Advice Centre, and others.”
But increasing the number of people online isn’t just about helping them apply for benefits. Merlin is currently putting together a strategy that will help address digital exclusion.
Research shows that if the 1.6 million children who live in families which do not use the internet at home got online, it could boost their total lifetime earnings by over £10 billion. And between 75%and 90% of jobs require at least some computer use.
Roadshows run between 10.00am and 2.00pm on 15th October in Asda, Patchway, 17th October in Tesco, Yate, 22nd October in King’s Chase Shopping Centre, Kingswood and 24th October in the St Mary Shopping Centre, Thornbury.