As part of Cheshire West Voluntary Action’s (CWVA) Volunteer Awards, Dial West Cheshire’s Disability Rights team has been named Team of the Year.
Volunteer Awards is a way of celebrating all the fantastic work volunteers do in their communities and winners will be announced over the coming weeks ahead of Christmas, with Team of the Year given to a group of volunteers who’ve made a real difference.
When the pandemic first hit and England went into lockdown, one of Dial’s primary concerns was how to continue delivering good quality welfare and benefits advice to disabled people in west Cheshire.
The pandemic threatened traditional sources of support and advice for clients and Dial was very concerned disabled people could be particularly disadvantaged.
Even though Dial couldn’t engage with clients face-to-face, the Disability Rights team and its dedicated volunteers continued to offer full welfare advice and a form filling service, including Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit work capability questionnaires, Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance for Children.
A volunteer advisor has also helped people apply for a Blue Badge, with support available both over the phone and on Zoom.
The person who nominated the team said: “The success is down to the dedication and flexibility of the team of advice volunteers, who worked together to put in place systems and practices that would allow them to continue supporting clients remotely.
“Our clients were surprised and pleased to be receiving the same standard of service and support they have been accustomed to from our face-to-face service.
“Many of our clients, who can’t write themselves or had no other support, were so grateful our volunteers were able to complete the forms electronically and send them to sign and post off to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
“All of this went swimmingly well and not one single complaint has been made about our service in the last 18 months, or the many months prior to the pandemic.
“The manager is so grateful and proud of the resilience of the team and the way it came together on behalf of Dial West Cheshire’s clients, many of whom are very vulnerable.
“We had a few technical glitches in the first few months as we tried to adapt to working from home but, with help from our IT staff and volunteers, we managed to overcome any hiccups.
“The team is a wonderful bunch of people – both staff and volunteers – who got on with the job without complaining and, from the lovely feedback we have had from many grateful clients, we can honestly say that they are the most fantastic volunteers who deserve to be recognised for their hard work and dedication.”
Everyone at CWVA would like to congratulate Dial West Cheshire’s Disability Rights team on being named Team of the Year.