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DWP Community Connectors Update - May 2020

An update from DWP Community Connectors on their continuing work to support women with advice and opportunities during the Coronavirus pandemic.

DWP Community Connectors with local partners at the January 2020 Empowering Women's Workshop. This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

During COVID-19, the DWP Community Connectors have been sending regular group emails and texts to keep the women on the programme updated on the support available in Walsall.

In addition, they are conducting ‘Welfare Calls’ to discuss wellbeing and to help ease any anxieties and concerns around home-schooling, as well as living under the current COVID-19 restrictions.

It was really great to hear that the Community Connectors have supported two women into work and continue to send job opportunities to those interested in employment.

For women who, due to home-schooling, cannot secure work at the moment, the Community Connectors are signposting to online courses, encouraging participants to use this time to upskill while at home. When the current restrictions begin to relax, the women hopefully will be more job-ready with extra qualifications to support their applications.

It is not just an employment conversation they are having, the Community Connectors have also supported women with money advice, assisting with food banks and applications to Universal Credit to ensure those that need it get the financial assistance they are entitled to. One of the women who was abroad at the time of the lockdown has kept in touch with their Community Connector. When she was able to return home, the Community Connector helped with the Universal Credit application and will support with the job search after the self-isolation period.

A number of women have asked for extra employability support once Ramadan had ended.

The Community Connectors have also ensured they communicate offers from partners to benefit the women in moving forward with their lives. Similarly, they continue to receive referrals from a range of partners, including Black Country’s Women Aid and will continue working with the women in whatever way they can. Internally, they have liaised with their specialist Disability Employment Advisor to support vulnerable customers with mental health concerns and signposting for counselling when required.