The Jewish community’s own version of the citizens’ advice bureau this week said its workload was expected to rise “significantly” under the weight of pressures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Paperweight charity, which provided free guidance to anyone finding it difficult to cope with financial, legal or administrative matters, said calls were already coming in from families plunged into crisis by the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.
“COVID-19 will sadly result in people losing their jobs, businesses folding, delays in obtaining the right benefits and, tragically, people dying,” said Paperweight chief executive Bayla Perrin. “Demand for our services is going to grow but we’re going do whatever it takes to support those in need.”
Last week the charity was approached to help a young Jewish woman with epilepsy and learning disabilities who suffers from the degeneration of major organs, after her mother, who acts as primary carer and communicator, contracted coronavirus.
The young woman had been about to move into independent, supported living so the charity’s caseworker took over the application process, liaising with the woman’s mother over the phone.
“In these very testing times, we are aware that people will turn to us for advocacy with the Department for Work and Pensions, assistance on debt-related issues, and updates on support available from banks, building societies and government agencies,” Perrin said.
“COVID-19 will continue to impact on all our lives in unprecedented ways. Our priority remains the welfare of clients and colleagues, and we have put in-place measures to ensure that we continue to deliver the services that the community expect from us.”