‘Lifeline’ debt and benefits advice service can help 1,000 more people

Around 1,000 vulnerable people in Islington will be helped out of poverty thanks to new funding for a benefits and debt advice charity.

Islington People’s Rights, which has been working in the borough for more than half a century, helps people to access the welfare benefits they’re entitled to and to manage debt.

Its IPR Assist project is a free advice service targeted at vulnerable and isolated groups including disabled people and those from black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee communities.

The scheme is being funded by a new £107,360 grant over two years from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“For over 50 years, Islington People’s Rights has provided a lifeline to people who often struggle to cover basic everyday costs such as food and fuel.

“The advice they receive can have a profound impact on people’s lives, lifting a weight from their mind, helping them access benefits they’re entitled to and free themselves from the shackles of debt.”

Based in Manor Gardens, Holloway, Islington People’s Rights has been working to reduce poverty and the effects of debt in the borough since it was founded in 1969.

It says many residents risk being pushed further into poverty by the economic impact of the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

Islington People’s Rights Chief Executive Gerard Omasta-Milsom said:

“We deliver targeted, specialist welfare benefits and debt advice to some of the most vulnerable people in society, who are often not aware of the benefits they're entitled to or how to access them.

“The support we provide enables people to manage their debts and have more money for simple things such as buying new clothes, putting food on the table or heating their homes, which has a massive impact on their lives.”

More information about Islington People’s Rights is online at www.ipradvice.org.uk

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £40 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: ‘Without IPR, I would have been destitute’

Paul is a disabled Islington resident and foreign national. While entitled to disability benefits, he was initially turned down due to issues with his immigration status.

While his case was being dealt with, he received no benefits and went into debt, including rent arrears, which had a detrimental effect on his mental health and put him at risk of homelessness.

Islington People’s Rights was able to successfully challenge the decision, enabling him to regularise his status. Paul was then able to receive all the benefits he was entitled to, backdated, which enabled him to clear his debts, notably the rent arrears.

Paul said: “I’m certain that without Islington People’s Rights I would have been destitute. The thought of having to survive on the streets was almost overwhelming. They are a lifeline.”

Picture captions

- Specialist caseworker Michael Nwosu delivers Islington People's Rights’ IPR Assist project

- The project helps clients with debt issues

- Islington People’s Rights Chief Executive Gerard Omasta-Milsom

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –  www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, a charity founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is now responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its grants team, City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £40 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk


Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk