UNISON is responding to the national coronavirus crisis by offering practical help to members experiencing financial hardship.
Staff at the union’s dedicated charity, There for You, are seeking to reassure members that they are still offering a service to them.
And UNISON branches should divert all welfare support requests to There for You, so that there is one, consistent process at this time.
General secretary Dave Prentis said: “The union would like to be as flexible as possible. However branches should not be setting aside or establishing their own welfare funds for this purpose, as this could lead to some confusion for our members on how to seek support.”
And branches must also remember not to use industrial action funds or property funds to finance hardship – this is not permitted.
Mr Prentis added: “These are unprecedented times, so that’s why I’m asking all branches to consider making a donation to support our charity There for You.
“Members need our help right now – your donation could make a huge difference to so many lives.”
The team at There for You is fully committed to providing a complete service throughout the current crisis. The charity remains open and fully operational.
However, some adjustments on how things normally work may be necessary:
- Wherever possible, please scan all applications for financial assistance and supporting paperwork and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will ensure there are no undue delays in processing an application.
- If you find yourself unable to support members due to work, family or other pressures, a reminder that members can apply directly with an application form without going through the branch.
- If you are dealing with an emergency situation – either linked to COVID-19 or other financial pressures – and your member has no money at all, call 020 7121 5620. During these unprecedented times, members can apply to us directly for an emergency payment.
- If your enquiry concerns an existing case, please in the first instance email email@example.com quoting the relevant case number. Our aim is to get back to you within 2-3 working days at the very latest.
If you require advice and/or are unsure if someone would be eligible for support, call 020 7121 5620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When phoning, callers will be asked to leave a message. In emergency situations, we aim to be in touch on the same or next day.
Please regularly check your mailbox (including junk folder) and the UNISON website for further updates in the event that new measures are introduced.
Forms are downloadable from There for You online.
UPDATE: In the light of government guidance, we have taken the decision to suspend our Wellbeing Breaks programme. For this reason any application already submitted will be held pending a change in government advice.
We would appreciate if branches could advise members that regretfully we cannot consider any Wellbeing Break requests at the present time. All other requests will still be considered and processed as quickly as possible.