It follows research by the Labour MP showing around £16 million per year in Pension Credit, and upwards of £20 million in Income Support, goes unclaimed by Bristol residents each year.
Karin Smyth brought together a range of local advice and support organisations at the City of Bristol College South Bristol Skills Academy, to give first-hand advice to around 90 constituents who attended the free event.
Organisations attending included Bristol Citizens Advice Bureau, South Bristol Advice Services, the city council’s welfare team, the Department for Work and Pensions, WE Care & Repair, Bristol Water and Wessex Water. Staff from Avon Fire and Rescue were also on hand to sign residents up for free home safety checks.
“It’s only fair that if you work hard and contribute to society, through taxes and other means, the system is then there for you when you need it,” said Karin Smyth.
“But whilst many people rightly claim what they are entitled to, some miss out and I was delighted to welcome so many of my constituents to take advantage of the support available at my event.
“It again proved that people are often not fully aware of what they should be able to receive. When you’re having a hard time financially it feels so much harder to navigate the paperwork. Bringing a range of experts together in one room feels like a really positive way of giving those I represent a helping hand.
“Huge thanks are due to all those who offered their expertise for the day, and also to City of Bristol College for supporting the event.”
Karin Smyth added that she plans to repeat the event in the autumn, with a date and location to be confirmed.