Help with new benefits system



THERE’S no getting away from the fact that many people in St Helens have been hit hard by the Welfare Reform Programme. It’s taken away considerable amounts of benefit from local residents, particularly families with children.


We’re doing all we can to help – and we’re working closely with our partners to try and minimise its impact. I recently announced that we were giving an extra £50,000 to support the St Helens Food Bank - which will be ring-fenced - to help those in food and fuel poverty.


On a practical level we’re working with our partners to support residents to access the new online claim forms and provide advice and guidance on personal budgeting.


There will also be information available on the council’s website about local resources and internet access points ( as well as IT courses to help people get online.


For more information about Universal Credit and how to apply, go to


THE internet and social media define the age we live in. Together they can bring huge benefits for everyone. Young people in particular stand to gain in their education and the way they interact with the world.


But there are risks too. Unfortunately there are many people out there who prey on the vulnerable – and we have to find ways of preventing this exploitation.


These dangers were explored at a special conference organised by children and young people themselves, in collaboration with St Helens Council and the St Helens Safeguarding Board, at a recent event at Langtree Park.


The students involved in the event wanted adults to be aware of the benefits that technology brings for children and young people - while being aware of the dangers of online misuse. 


Over 100 delegates from the council, safeguarding board, Merseyside Police, the NSPCC, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, schools and voluntary organisations got together to examine the problem – and see what could be done about it.


The event was a huge success and will help equip the various agencies involved to identify problems and take appropriate action.


DON’T forget to look in at the newly-refurbished Victoria Park this weekend (Sat 19 July) for one of Merseyside’s most exclusive festivals!


The Big Busk@Victoria Park runs from 1pm to 5.30pm and will see buskers and street performers staging an eclectic mix of music, dance and performing arts.


Organised by the Friends of Victoria Park and funded by the Victoria Park Heritage Lottery Fund restoration project, the event is completely free!


So if the weather’s good, just bring a blanket and a picnic. If not, bring your wellies!

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