Universal Credit Hub at East Durham College

New Universal Credit Support Hub Launched at East Durham College

East Durham College, based in Peterlee, has launched a new scheme to help students and those from the surrounding area to understand the changes that the government’s new Universal Credit scheme will bring.

The Universal Credit Hub aims to ease the worries of people who rely on benefits and to help them understand how the changes under Universal Credit may affect their lives.

Universal Credit is a new scheme gradually being rolled out by the government which aims to encourage those on benefits to be more active in finding employment. The scheme sees a host of existing benefits, including housing and childcare, rolled into one monthly payment which the claimant will receive all of at the same time.

Under the scheme, claimants will need to be actively looking for work, unless there are special circumstances where they are not able to work. The new scheme also works on scaled pay – if the claimant was to earn a certain amount of money over a month from some form of work, the benefits paid to them will be less as they have earned money that month.

Barbara Archer, Employability Programme Leader at East Durham College, said: “A lot of people in the area aren’t even aware of Universal Credit and the changes it will bring. Our new Universal Credit Hub is designed to give people a comfortable, safe environment where they can learn about the changes, how it affects them and we will also be offering support to help them organise their applications for Universal Credit.

“Our Universal Credit Hub has several computers with internet access as a lot of the people we work with may not have services such as the internet. We’ll also be working with those who aren’t comfortable using computers to ensure they understand the process, how to apply and how to manage their finances as Universal Credit starts rolling out.”

East Durham College will be hosting regular events in the Universal Credit Hub and will be actively working with people from around the East Durham area, as well as JobCentre Plus, to encourage and help people to find work.

Anyone interested in the scheme can talk to East Durham College’s employability team by calling 0191 518 8390 or by emailing Barbara.Archer@eastdurham.ac.uk.