Grocery charity Caravan held a two-day Welfare Assessors Conference last week to bring its assessors up to speed on government policy changes.

Caravan, which supports former grocery colleagues who have fallen on hard times, has 57 welfare assessors who visit the charity's beneficiaries when they need support and guidance on benefits and services.

The conference was designed to inform assessors on any changes to benefits and grants that could affect beneficiaries.

Paddy Millard, who set up Tax Help for Older People in 2001 to help ­retired people on low ­incomes cope with the complex tax system, was among those who spoke at the event, as was Steve Thomson from Age UK, who gave insights into how his charity could help out with housing and home improvements.

"Our welfare assessors are our 'front line' who, by their visits, are able to ensure the continued welfare needs of our beneficiaries are sufficiently met," said Caravan director general Gillian Barker. "They can help ensure that the people they visit are in possession of cookers, washing machines, televisions, telephones, fridges and beds."

Caravan is currently looking for assessors in the Liverpool, Birmingham, Shropshire, Norfolk and North Wales areas. For ­further information contact Renatha Fourie on renatha@caravan-charity.org.uk or call 01252 875925.

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