Residents are being urged not to leave it until problems become overwhelming before seeking welfare support from the council.

Help is available for those struggling with difficulties such as redundancy, mental health problems, bereavement and COVID-related issues that have arisen over the last 16 months.

The Revenues and Benefit team, which has reached the final four categories of a national award scheme, is ready with a listening ear and to guide towards help with housing, council tax and pension credits.

Cabinet Member for Revenues, Benefits, Anti-Fraud and Corruption Cllr Tim Prater said: “Our officers are here to support those in need so if you do need welfare support I’d urge you to get in touch. The different systems can often appear complex and overwhelming but our officers have in-depth knowledge and understanding of benefits and the agencies dealing with them.

“More importantly though, they have years of experience between them and are empathetic and sensitive to the needs of people who ask for help, some of whom are extremely vulnerable.”

The cases undertaken by the team show the huge range of help available, both in pandemic and non-pandemic times.

The great performance of the council’s welfare team has been recognised in this year’s IRRV (Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation) awards.

From a field of 315 councils Folkestone and Hythe District Council has been named finalists in four categories, more than any other council in the country:

Revenues Team of the Year,

Benefits & Welfare Team of the Year,

Excellence in Education,

Staff Development and Excellence in Social Inclusion.

The outcome of the awards will be decided in September after an in-depth inspection

By Ed

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