The Advice Dorset Partnership E news is published fortnightly on a Thursday, BUT if there is something urgent in-between we will send out a short supplementary edition.

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 Dorset email:  mailto:caroline.buxton@centralca.org.uk

You can view previous editions of the E news HERE.

Jobs

Citizens Advice Central Dorset is advertising for two roles – more information on their website here:

Refugee Resettlement Caseworker: The caseworker will work with families who have come to the UK under the Refugee Resettlement Programme (RRP) which prioritises victims of extreme violence or torture, women and children and those at risk because of their gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, and immigration status. Hours 12 Hours per week / Salary £13.42 per hour (£8,374 Actual / £25,820 FTE) / Location Hybrid and Dorset Council Area / Start Date As soon as possible / Term Funding until end of March 2024.

Sherborne Co-ordinator: to provide day to day support to the team to enable them to deliver a valued and consistent service to local residents. The duties will include organising the advice rota, running multi channel advice sessions and coordinating the training needs of the team. Hours 21 hours per week / Salary £14.56 per hour (£15,900 per annum)

Information Updates

UKRAINE

There are link to various information sources in last week’s E News Extra and additional issues are covered below. Please be aware this information is fast-changing!

  • Citizens Advice information on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, here, and if you’re from Ukraine and you visa is ending – here.
  • Homes for Ukraine – FAQs are here.
  • Mortgage companies confirm that consent is needed to host someone in a spare room under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, but most will grant this. See the joint statement on the Building Societies Association website here.
  • Allocation of Public Housing: The regulations have been amended to allow Ukrainians to access public housing, and homelessness assistance. They will be eligible if all of these apply: they were residing in Ukraine immediately before 1st January 2022 / left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion / have been granted leave – except where they have a no public funds condition.
  • DBS checks for sponsors – local authorities will carry out these – read the Govt news here.
  • This Govt press release confirms that the Habitual Residence Test will not be applied to Ukrainian refugees claiming benefits.
  • …and this one confirms that health charges are waived for newly arrived Ukrainians, whilst their pets must quarantine when they arrive but the costs will be picked up by the government
  • Rail and bus companies will provide free onward travel for Ukrainians to travel from their port of entry to their accommodation – read more on National Rail.
  • The British Red Cross page on Help for Ukrainian nationals remains a good source of practical help on the visa schemes, travel to the UK and family tracing.

There is also information on both councils’ websites: Dorset Council and BCP Council.

Citizens Advice leaflet in English and Ukrainian:

SPRING STATEMENTo

Useful summary of the key points on the BBC website here.

Commentary from various organisations, including:

  • The Resolution Foundation – ‘Inflation Nation’: This briefing note provides an assessment of the measures announced in the March 2022 Spring Statement.
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s press release anticipates that over 600,000 people will be pulled into poverty.

COVID

Lateral flow tests – England: From 1 April free universal testing, for people with and without symptoms, will end. Tests are available to purchase from retailers either over the counter or online. From 1 April, there will be some limited ongoing free testing:

a. Limited symptomatic testing available for a small number of at-risk groups – the Government will set out further details on which groups will be eligible.
b. Free symptomatic testing will remain available to social care staff.

Booster vaccinations: A spring booster of the COVID-19 vaccine is available to people aged 75 and over, people who live in a care home for older people, or people aged 12 and over who have a weakened immune system. Read more on the NHS website.

BENEFITS

Definition of Terminal Illness for UC and ESA: From 4 April 2022, the Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (Terminal Illness) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 amend the definition of terminal illness for ESA and Universal Credit. The special rules for terminal illness will apply to a person whose death is reasonably expected within 12 months rather than the current 6 months. Rules for personal independence payment, disability living allowance and attendance allowance will change later in the year as soon as Parliamentary time allows for the amendment to be made to the legislation.

Council Tax Rebate: The Govt has written to Local Authorities with a series of FAQs on how the £150 rebate scheme will work. Read the letter here.

EMPLOYMENT

Redundancy: P&O Ferries’ sudden dismissal of 800 employees highlights employers’ collective consultation obligations. Where an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant within a 90 day period, at least 30 days of consultation is required before notice of dismissal can be given. If 100 or more employees are to be made redundant, consultation has to last at least 45 days. Where there hasn’t been collective consultation, employees can claim a protective award (up to 90 days pay) as well as unfair dismissal. Follow this link for an article on Collective redundancy situations and claiming a protective award.

OTHER

New divorce laws come into force from 6 April 2022: Read the Govt press release here and information from Citizens Advice here. Previews of the new forms, and some examples, can be see on the Resolution website here. [Resolution is the trading name of Solicitors Family Law Association (a company limited by guarantee)]

HMCTS – Appeals and tribunals: Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal service has a youtube channel with various guides and videos, including new ones to help prepare and support participants for online hearings, including at Social Security and Child Support Tribunals and Employment Tribunals.

Panda’s Foundation: Postnatal depression (PND) is a common problem that occurs after pregnancy and affects more than 1 in 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect dads and partners. PND can present itself in different ways, and many parents don’t realise they have the condition because it can develop gradually over time. Panda’s Foundation provides a ‘vital lifeline’ for many parents who cannot, or do not have access to early intervention services as parents from conception through to birth and beyond. They can provide help by phone, email, text etc – read more here.

Events

STARS (Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service) are hosting a training event with Christiane Sanderson University of Roehampton) on 8th April: Narcissistic Injuries, Neglect & Relational Trauma. The training is on line, 9.30am – 4pm and costs £65. Read more here.

Policy in Practice webinar – How low income families can benefit from local tariffs: 30 March 2 – 3.45pm. Millions of families under pressure from the rising cost of living are missing out on savings on their utility and broadband bills that could make a big difference. Research shows that savings of up to £144 a year for broadband alone are being left on the table. …….Lack of awareness of the support available for families is a problem. Join this webinar to find out more – register here.

Local events for the VCSE, in BCP and Dorset.

Reports, research, blogs etc

Inside Housing – Shared owners face soaring bills due to inflation-linked rent and service charge increases: Alongside being hit with record rent rises, shared owners are facing huge increases in their service charge, in part due to the impact of inflation on providing services and the ongoing cost of the building safety crisis. To read this article here you may need to register but there is an option for a free subscription to access some articles.

Samaritans – Real People, Real Stories: (Supported by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust): Men in rural areas are less likely to reach out for support or talk to someone if they’re struggling; they say stigma around mental health is the biggest barrier to seeking help, and not knowing who to turn to was one of the biggest barriers to seeking support. Read and listen to some of their stories here. Remember, the number for Samaritans is 116 123.

Remote and rural health and medicine: This report was commissioned by the University of Central Lancashire National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine to explore some of the challenges facing healthcare practitioners and rural communities; it was first published in February 2020. Some parts have been updated in January 2022. From the Foreword: As tourists flock to the Lakes and gasp at the property prices in the estate agent windows, pockets of deprivation and health inequalities pass them by. They aren’t aware of the towns with “epidemic” levels of drug abuse, alcoholism and mental health diagnoses. Like many communities in remoter parts of the UK, workforce and recruitment issues predominate. The national crisis in recruitment is asymmetric and one that affects the GP and hospital communities of the coastal and remote towns more acutely. Read more here.

Crunch Point – Protecting households from record energy bills in the coming months: People on low incomes are most likely to be unable to afford price rises from April. Polling commissioned by Citizens Advice shows that nearly half (47%) of people on low incomes predict that they will fall behind on their essential bills, or cut back on essential spending. The report recommends that the government puts in place both broad and targeted support to mitigate the impact of price hikes – read more here.

Funding news

Arnold Clark Community Fund: Grants of up to £1,000. The fund aims to help UK charities and local community groups continue their important work which may be at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. Deadline 30 June. read more here.

Asda Foundation: The ASDA Foundation is offering grants of between £500 and £1,500 for not-for-profit community groups throughout the United Kingdom to support activities for children under 18 years old to improve their lives and the community. Funding will support projects that fall within one or more of the following themes:

  • Supporting Essentials: activities that focus on the provision of healthy, nutritious food, plus hygiene and health-related supplies for children.
  • Being Active: physical activities that are inclusive for all children and embrace diversity.
  • Improving Wellbeing: projects that are inclusive for all children, are accessible to everyone, and embrace diversity.
  • Celebrating and Bringing Children Together: activities to bring children together to share experiences and encourage everyone to be together are supported.

Deadline 15 April. Read more here.