The Advice Dorset Partnership covers the geographical county of Dorset, and is circulated every fortnight, to bring you news and information relating to the advice sector in Dorset and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole. The Partnership is supported by Citizens Advice in Dorset (CAiD). 

During the Covid-19 outbreak we are usually publishing a weekly E News to keep you updated on information you may need for your clients/service users (benefits, rights for the self-employed, other financial help, support services, and anything else we hope may be of use…….).

As usual feel free to forward this email to  colleagues and  they can get in touch with us if they wish to go on the list.  If you would like to send anything out via the bulletin,  and for all other enquiries about the Advice Dorset Partnership, contact Caroline Buxton on her Citizens Advice Central Doset email:  mailto:caroline.buxton@centralca.org.uk

Jobs and Volunteer opportunities

Citizens Advice BCP: Welfare Benefits Adviser for Macmillan Caring Locally. 18 hours per week, Salary – £9,460 – £10,252 (dependent on experience). Closing date: 11 September.

If you have experience of welfare benefits advice and dealing with complex or crisis situations, this is an opportunity to work with a respected local charity as an adviser.  You will be responsible for the delivery of a high quality welfare benefits advice service for patients and their families under the care of the Macmillan Unit. You will be part of the multi-disciplinary Macmillan Unit team and spend time at the Unit each week whilst being based at Bournemouth Citizens Advice. Read more:

Information updates

EMPLOYMENT / GOVT SCHEMES

Help & Support if your business is affected by Covid-19: a useful summary of information includes videos and free webinars on various topics eg. how to claim under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and recent changes to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (see below) which mean some parents who were not eligible to claim under the scheme before, may now be able to claim, providing they meet other standard eligibility.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-is-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19

Self Employed Income Support Scheme: Grants Round 2 has just opened. Applications must be made by 19 October 2020 and people will have to confirm that their business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020. Read more: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

HOUSING

Mortgage Repossessions: The Financial Conduct Authority has said that mortgage lenders shouldn’t start or continue court action for repossession until at least 31 October. Although the courts start dealing with evictions again from 24 August, lenders still must not go to court for a repossession order or ask bailiffs to evict. People should contact their lender if they have received a letter from the court with a date for a hearing. They should apply to have it adjourned until after October. Shelter summarises the process here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repossession/seven_steps_to_home_repossession

NB: for a useful Citizens Advice BLOG on issues for tenants, see under Reports and Briefings

UTILITIES

Changes to Energy Caps: Energy price caps ensure consumers who are on poor value ‘default’ energy deals pay a fairer price for their energy and are protected from being overcharged. Ofgem has announced the new tariffs from 1 October 2020 for both default tariff and prepayment customers, which should mean savings for many households: .

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/default-tariff-cap-level-1-october-2020-31-march-2021

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/prepayment-meter-cap-level-1-october-2020-31-march-2021

CONSUMER / SCAMS

Reporting a scam advert: People can now report these directly to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It’s not just for coronavirus related scam adverts, although there have certainly been many around, and covers all paid-for ads including those on newspaper websites, paid-for search engine ads or ads appearing on social media. https://www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint/report-an-online-scam-ad.html

Local Updates

NHS Dorset/CCG: Mental Health Integrated Community Care project – consultation: Currently, primary and community mental health services don’t always meet everyone’s needs. Through the Mental Health Integrated Community Care Project, we have the opportunity to work with local people and communities to improve mental health services for adults and older people, and those that support them.

If you are 16 or over, we would like to hear your honest opinions about your experience of mental health services in the community, how you feel people could be enabled to improve their mental health and wellbeing, and how well this is done at the moment.

The view seeking stage of the Mental Health Integrated Community Care Project was launched on Monday 17 August 2020 and will run for 8 weeks, closing on Friday 9 October 2020. The survey is available in on-line, paper and easy read versions, go to: https://www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/cmh/ 

People can also request a paper or easy read version of the survey by calling 01202 541588 or e-mailing communications@dorsetccg.nhs.uk. In addition, if people would like to share their experiences on the telephone with Dorset Mental Health Forum they can do so by calling 01305 257 172.

A reminder that:

Reports, Briefings etc

NEXT TUESDAY: Joseph Rowntree Foundation housing webinar – 25 August at 2pm: Build, Build, Build Social Housing: Investing in housing that stimulates our economy and lifts people out of poverty and homelessness. To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/8515960187328/WN_xqY6Ge2xTwWiSaAmtTgWQA

Citizens Advice BLOG: The eviction ban is ending. From Monday 24 August, courts will start to consider claims made by landlords, and evictions will restart. Citizens Advice research suggests that 2.6 million renters have either missed or expect to miss a rent payment because of coronavirus. read more: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/the-eviction-ban-is-ending-75f457401870

Public Law Project: The PLP was set up to ensure those marginalised through poverty, discrimination or disadvantage have access to public law remedies and can hold the state to account.Read more about their latest work here: https://publiclawproject.org.uk/latest-news/

Funding News

Barrow Cadbury Trust: Covid19 Support for the specialist migration sector: The programme was designed to support small to medium sized organisations with a mission to support refugees and migrants; it received slightly fewer application than expected so has re-opened for a second round of applications and extended the eligibility criteria.

The programme is now open to organisations with an income of £10,000 to £3 million that provide services and support targeted at refugees and migrants. This includes organisations that only work with these groups and those that have more general objects but are seeking to maintain or expand existing services targeted at refugees and migrants.

There is no deadline for applications but they will close the programme once they have enough applications to ensure the funds are spent, so if your organisation is eligible you should submit your application without delay. The maximum you can apply for is £50,000 or three months’ expenditure, whichever is the smaller.  Read more: https://www.barrowcadbury.org.uk/what-we-do/programmes/covid-19-support-fund/

The Phoenix Fund aims to put racial justice at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The initiative will support a network of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic charities and groups in England that are working in the heart of their communities, providing essential and emergency services, support, and education tailored to the BAME community. Grants of up to £20k. The fund aims to:

  • Offer core funding to BAME grassroots groups across England working with BAME communities
  • Raise awareness of the unique challenges facing BAME communities across England
  • Establish an effective, innovative partnership to improve and promote community-based organisations within English philanthropy

Round 1 application deadline is 21 August (but there are other rounds ahead); read more: https://globalfundforchildren.org/the-phoenix-fund/

Social Enterprise Support Fund: Social enterprises that are supporting people at high health risk from COVID-19, and those supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of COVID-19 can apply now for grants of between £10,000 and £300,000. The funding can be used for two types of support:

  • Funding for activities supporting people and communities affected by COVID-19.
  • Help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they are facing as result of the crisis

Deadlines:

  • Round 2 will be open from 1pm on 13 August 2020 until 1pm on 20 August 2020.
  • Round 3 will be open from 1pm on 10 September 2020 until 1pm on 17 September 2020.

Read more: https://socialenterprisesupportfund.org.uk/