Full Universal Credit, which has been extremely controversial in other parts of the country, was rolled out in Bassetlaw last week.
It is unlikely that we will know the full impact of how this has affected claimants in Bassetlaw until the new year.
However, to help make this transition as smooth as possible during the first few days of the roll out, council officers worked with colleagues from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deliver personal budgeting advice, make referrals for discretionary housing payments and also helped customers get online to make claims and manage their accounts.
I am hopeful that the impact will not be as negative as it has been in other parts of the country, especially with this being so close to Christmas.
DWP staff were also on hand to let claimants know that they can receive 50 per cent advance of their payments before Christmas and another advance up to 100 per cent in January if needed.
If you do find yourself in financial trouble during the Christmas period because of the switch to full Universal Credit, you can visit the Universal Credit section of www.bassetlaw.gov.uk where there is lots of information on how to manage your claim or get in touch with specialist advisors.
In the lead-up to Christmas, we have also been supporting the Bassetlaw food bank’s reverse advent calendar appeal with donations from staff and councillors.
There has been a fantastic response from the Bassetlaw community to this campaign.
It’s brilliant that so many people are willing to donate so please keep supporting this essential service as the food bank is anticipating a busy January and February, partly because of the Universal Credit roll out.
I’d also like to say well done to the organisers of the recent Christmas tree festival at Priory Church, it was a fantastic event where visitors were also able to choose the winner of the Churches Together – Love Worksop photography competition.
You can see the winners and their photographs on the Love Worksop Facebook page.
Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year.