Wealden District Council
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Financial Inclusion Strategy Action Plan



Update as at May 2023



Promote Street Learning courses, and other council initiatives to help people get online and/or improve their IT skills

Brochure taken to RL courts.

Using social media, website and Wealden Weekly to promote Street Learning.

Since 2022 a Street Learning Facebook page has been set up and utilised.

We worked with library service to support Get online week 2018 and 2019 and to provide outreach and promote their IT support services. These have been promoted through a variety of channels including Threshold.

During Covid we worked with the library service who ran a tablet loan scheme, with data and telephone IT support to get these out to those in need.


Training to develop the IT skills of the older tenants and leaseholders

During National Get Online week in 2018, IT drop-in sessions were held at Rumsey Court, Mary Burfield Court and Church Bailey Court.

In 2022 the library service ran sessions for residents at Rumsey Court where a minibus was provided to take residents to the library and back home.

Also see point 1.


Consider the installation of WI-FI within the council’s temporary accommodation

Installation cost currently makes it unviable. There was also little support from current residents living within these schemes.


Promote the take up of Direct Debit amongst tenants and leaseholders

The use of behavioural science/nudge techniques and incentives linked to the Tenant Reward Scheme was piloted but unsuccessful.  

In the Spring 2021 edition of Threshold an article promoting the benefits of paying your rent by DD.


Promote the benefits of being online

National Get Online week 2018 and 2019 with outreach sessions in 2018 delivered in retirement living courts as well as community venues.

We partnered with local charity SCDA who put in a Digital Fund bid to recruit and train digital champions throughout the district. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful.

We have been utilising publications to promote the benefit of being online.

We have worked with ESCC library service to hold IT support outreach sessions in the community well as those in the library.


Promote internet security

Now part of all IT Street Learning courses


Increase the number of  tenants and leaseholders accessing the internet

This information is no longer collected in surveys. However, we continue to gather email addresses so that we can ensure those that appear not to be online receive information from us in hard copy e.g., Threshold.  


Ensure tenants and leaseholders can access advice on budgeting

Wealden continue to fund and promote/signpost/refer as appropriate to CAB. With quarterly feedback provided. In 2022 a new 3 years’ Service Level Agreement with funding was given.

Budgeting is part of pre-tenancy training for housing applicants who are required to undertake it as appropriate.

In 2022/23 we were part of a review across East Sussex of Welfare Benefits & Debt Advice.


Help tenants and leaseholders reduce their energy costs

We have had active and on-going annual collective switch initiatives. The big switch since 2020 is for renewable electrify tariffs only.

Letters sent to all tenants who have Rointe heaters and Warm Home Discounts promoted in the letter.

We have been working with Citizens Advice on a local fuel voucher scheme. Those visiting CAB to get a food voucher may also be entitled to a fuel voucher if the advisor deems the individual at risk of self-disconnection. Both for those with and without gas.

Your Energy Sussex has now made funding available for fuel vouchers across Sussex.

East Sussex set up at the end of 2021 a Housing Support Scheme to help people with Utility debts and other cost of living costs. We are currently in phase 4 of the programme.


Help tenants access basic bank accounts

Credit Union no longer receive funding in Wealden so have withdrawn their outreach service from the council offices.

Finances set aside to help tenants without a bank account set one up with the Credit Union but to date these have not been utilised.

At sign-ups tenants are asked if they have a bank account, if not they are given information about the East Sussex Credit Union and their accounts.

We are currently working with Wave Community Bank (formerly East Sussex Credit Union) to see how we can raise the profile of their services in Wealden.


Increase in the number of tenants who have a bank account

All opportunities are utilised to ensure tenants have a bank account, including at sign-up – see point 10.


Increase home contents insurance take-up

We are no longer able to promote specific schemes for tenants as legal and procurement requires more general sign-posting.

We undertake general advertisement in Threshold of the need for contents insurance.  

We will look to procure a preferred partner in the future.


Work with the Credit Union to promote affordable loans and savings

Outreach from Wealden’s offices stopped, which made it difficult to promote and sign-post to them. However, in 2023 we are exploring other ways in which we can work closely.

We do include some general publicity information in our newsletters.


Work with CAB to ensure tenants and leaseholders receive debt advice when needed

Quarterly report received from CAB which monitors referrals and use of their services.


Promote awareness of the dangers of illegal money lending and where to go for help

Wealden undertook a Social Media campaign supporting national campaign on Illegal Money Lending, with the Illegal Money Lending Team in 2018, 2019 and 2020, 2021 and 2022.


Provide advice to ensure tenants and leaseholders are accessing all the benefits to which they are entitled

Employment of a housing Tenancy Support Officer who will sign-post people to ensure they claim eligible benefits.

In 2019/20 our Tenancy Support Officer held benefit outreach sessions in the retirement living courts.

In 2022 to date our Housing Benefit Team have been holding benefit outreach sessions.  


Support and maximise the take up of free Street Learning courses amongst tenants

Brochures taken to all RL courts and all resident groups. Promoted on social media, website Wealden Weekly, Threshold, monthly e-newsletter.


Advertise services to help tenants and leaseholders attend structured training courses e.g. those to develop self-confidence or those to support people access training

Southdown’s Student Buddy Scheme has ceased so no longer able to do this.


Promote free employment support available in Wealden including outreach services 

We work closely with the JobCentres and promote any events such as careers fares, free courses. We also promote employment support provided through local charities such as People Matter.


Offer/fund courses specifically to meet tenant’s and leaseholders needs e.g., IT training in Retirement Living Courts, those to help tenants and leaseholders get involved or deliver community projects

Tenant Involvement Team have provided accredited courses in 2018.

We are a member of Tpas, and we promote the free courses and access that tenants can utilise as part of our membership.

We have provided Scrutiny Training to our scrutiny panel.

In 2022 will arranged dementia awareness training for our tenants.


Develop online training for tenants

pre-tenancy training used for applicants based on modules they need to cover rather than the whole course. This can be accessed by existing tenants as necessary.


Promote Scams awareness

Wealden social media has been used to promote scams awareness.

IT security is part of any Street Learning IT course


Provide access to numeracy and literacy courses

ACRES, Sussex Coast College and the library service provide free math’s and English courses which are promoted in the Street Learning brochure.