A WEEK-long scheme to help people understand the benefits system is taking place next week in Middlesbrough.

The pilot project will be in venues around Coulby Newham and Hemlington from Monday, March 17 to Friday, March 21.

Through the week advisors will be stationed under the “It’s Your Right to Claim” banner to help the public, after studies showed that billions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed nationally every year, including by pensioners, families and the needy.

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Councillor Tracy Harvey, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Lead for Welfare Reform, said: “This project is about explaining benefits and making sure people know what they are entitled to.

“The story that too often goes untold about welfare is of the billions of pounds that go unclaimed every year by those who would be assisted by it.

“Welfare is about fairness and helping people from all walks of society to improve their own lives.

“We are aiming to give people a better understanding of what they are eligible to claim and to clear up any misconceptions about benefits.”

John Daniels, manager of Middlesbrough’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, said: “At a time when a lot of people are struggling financially, it is important that they claim all of the benefits to which they are entitled.

“The benefits system can be complicated, and we want to help people through it effectively.”

Surgeries will be held at the library, Sure Start centre, Hemlington Social Club and Erimus Housing Office, and an information stand will be in the Parkway Centre.