New CLAS Model

CHS are the lead partner of the new Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme, working with Cambridge and District Citizens Advice Bureau, Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire, Cambridge Re-use, Ferry Project and CCORRN.

As part of the new service provision a new network of CLAS Champions have been recruited to ensure that the scheme reaches those most in need and is offered as part of a wider intervention that develops their longer term resilience and financial  capability. Under the new scheme there will be a maximum of 25 CLAS Champions across the whole of the county.


What is the Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme?

If you live in Cambridgeshire the scheme provides information, advice and one off practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure (subject to eligibility). 



Applicants to the Scheme must have lived in Cambridgeshire for at least six months unless they have fled to the area for their own safety.

To apply to the Scheme you must have no savings and receive one of the following means tested benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit 

If you are working, your total household must be below the HMRC low income threshold (£16,105 for 2017/18)


Services offered

Information and Advice

Anyone enquiring about CLAS will be eligible for an initial triage. Cambridge and District Citizens Advice Bureau and Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire will enable us to provide an information and advice service to the whole of the county, including its rural areas. They will be conducting financial health checks relevant to any circumstances including debt, benefits and money advice.


Depending on the scoring and their underlying eligibility for CLAS, there will be a range of outcomes from this triage including self-help/signposting/referral into CLAS Champion and/or referral into other support services - see below:

  • Self-help with web resources via a Help in Crisis section on the Making Money Count website which will contain a wide range of information and resources linked to the principal needs that CLAS clients have historically presented with, as well as a wide range of financial capability, money and debt support. It will also include a list of grant making trusts and Food Banks in the area which organisations can look into when accessing help for their clients. The website will be available in late April.
  • Follow up with a face to face assessment with CLAS Champion to complete deeper assessment of need and agree action plan – including access to low cost re used and refurbishment household items and paint (see CLAS Awards section below)
  • Referral direct into specialised services, e.g. when presenting with mental health needs, homeless, floating support.

Practical Support

Under the new CLAS scheme only CLAS Champions will be able to grant awards. Unless your organisation is hosting a CLAS Champion, you will need to refer people to their local CAB as there will be CLAS Champions in Cambridge & District CAB  and Rural Cambs CAB.   John Huntingdon's Charity is the access point for CLAS in the Sawston area.

CLAS Awards

Before making a grant award the CLAS Champion will complete a comprehensive assessment of need. If a CLAS award is appropriate this will be one or more of:

  • Recycled white goods and furniture
  • New white goods *
  • Decorating vouchers
  • Supermarket vouchers (food and clothes - only in emergencies)

*Please note the award of new white goods will be by exception only and will form less than 20% of total awards

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