Helping East Renfrewshire Online (HERO) East Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau

East Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau

Charity registered in Scotland SC013474

ERCAB is a respected and trusted local provider of free, confidential, independent and impartial information, advice and representation.

Our office in Barrhead is open on a drop in basis from 9:30-3:30 Mondays to Fridays and by appointments on Wednesdays from 3:30-6. Our competent team of 38 trained and supported volunteer advisers provide generalist information and advice on a wide range of subjects – just about anything, in fact! We also have specialist advisers who provide Type II and Type III assistance with Housing, Debt & Money Advice, Welfare Benefits, Employment and Health.

We work with a wide range of partners to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in East Renfrewshire. We help our clients to take control and make decisions that will improve their lives.

  • From 3rd September 2018 to 8th March 2019
  • Award: £9,989 via Call 6

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Project plan

Project description

Universal Credit (UC) is due to go fully live in East Renfrewshire on 1st September 2018 and, from 2019, the DWP will begin moving all existing benefit claimants to UC.

There is no transitional protection for this. Claimants will be expected to maintain their benefit claim online and conform to the strict conditions of their benefit. The DWP agree that the process is likely to be challenging for a considerable majority of clients in terms of digital skills and confidence to access the systems required.

Our existing close working relationship with our local JobCentre is vital to clients trying to navigate the ever complex benefit system and allows us to help them at the very earliest stage.

Every new UC claimant who needs support with ICT access and/or online claims will be given a leaflet about our HERO project and, more often than not, attendance at the HERO Project will form part of their Claimant Commitment.

As such, our main client group will be jobseekers who require access to computers with additional support from us to avoid being sanctioned.

The HERO project team (p/t Adviser plus trained and supported volunteers) will deliver intensive one-to-one support to help claimants with online claims using Dell laptops (XPS 13 9360). We will provide people with the skills and access to get online if they are not already and will deliver one-to-one and group work focused on building basic digital skills including financial management (e.g. opening bank accounts, setting up direct debits e.g. for rent payment), shopping around / price comparison websites, searching for online advice, how to avoid scams etc.

Project milestones

Phase 1

Project set up phase (including buying 4 Dell laptops, engaging project worker, building awareness of the additional support for claimants, scheduling dates and times for one to one and group work, confirming grant payment and monitoring systems)

Phase 2

At least 30 welfare benefit claimants have improved Basic Digital Skills (particularly around online benefit claims and documenting progress in relation to their Claimant Commitment)

Phase 3

Key staff and volunteers are upskilled to start supporting clients to use pcs and laptops to complete government processes online



The HERO Project ran full time Monday – Friday with 2 drop-in sessions daily both at the bureau and across the local authority, offering one-to-one support for clients by successfully giving them access to computers and online, who would otherwise be disadvantaged as do not have the resources available to them at home. As clients have access to computers and online this has lead to reduced sanctions for them as are able to check their online accounts. Clients are also offered support with accessing any other information online. Clients were assisted successfully when claiming Universal Credit, New-Style Employment and Support Allowance/Jobseekers Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Council Tax Reductions and Discretionary Housing Payments.

HERO Project is now running full time Monday - Friday
Daily drop-in sessions available through local authority
Offer one-to-one support to clients
Offering support with any other issues accessing information online

• The HERO Project runs 2 drop in sessions daily Monday-Friday across the local authority giving clients access to services that they might not otherwise have had access to.
• Alongside twice daily drop in sessions across the local authority these drop in sessions are also available daily within the bureau.
• Client's are offered one-to-one support with accessing information online.
• The project is working alongside other bureau projects and local authority organisations. Working alongside the Help to Claim and Money Talks projects within the bureau allows additional support to be offered to clients. Working alongside DIY Dunterlie Project organised by Barrhead Housing Association to help local residents develop new skills and interests to have a positive impact on their lives.

• Continuing to run full time Monday – Friday
• 2 drop-in sessions daily at outreaches across local authority
• Daily drop in at bureau
• Offering one-to-one support for clients
• Offer support accessing any information online
• Working alongside Help to Claim and Financial Health Check Advisors

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: