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 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

Dorset Community Action are recruiting for a Community Consultant (Part-time 22 hours), based in Dorchester or Wimborne. Salary: £28,403 (Pro rata £16,888). Closing date 9 November 2020. Read more: https://www.dorsetcommunityaction.org.uk/vacancy-community-consultant-dca-closes-09-11-20/

Information

Coronavirus – what it means for you: good summary of many issues on the Citizens Advice website here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/#h-check-the-latest-coronavirus-laws-and-guidance

JOB SUPPORT SCHEME: Detailed guidance is now available. The ‘open’ scheme is for businesses that can remain open but face decreased demand, so some local businesses may fall into this category. The ‘closed’ scheme is for businesses in those areas which have the highest Covid19 restrictions, so they have had to close. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme

Employers claiming the Job Support Scheme may still claim the Job Retention Bonus in respect of the same employee if they are eligible. Grants claimed under the Job Support Scheme can be used by employers to pay an employee’s wages and help meet the Lower Earnings Limit of the Job Retention Bonus. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-claim-the-job-retention-bonus-from-15-february-2021

BENEFITS

Pension Credit Toolkit: this has recently been updated: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit

Updated UC guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-you/draft-uc-and-you

Employment and Support Allowance: The guidance at the link below contains example of scenarios and whether or not you can claim new style ESA. From 23 October new style ESA has to be claimed on-line: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance

OTHER

Leaving the EU / TRANSITION: There will be new rules in place from 1 January 2021, for businesses and citizens. There is a tool to check what people might need to do, on the Government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/transition

Local Info

FREE SCHOOL MEALS during half term (a hot topic!):

Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council: food parcels are available for parents in receipt of Universal Credit, free school meal vouchers, of children with Education Health & Care Plans, or facing financial hardship: – 0300 123 7052 and read more: https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Articles/Food-parcels-for-families-this-half-term.aspx

Dorset Council area: For information on help with food go to: https://www.helpandkindness.co.uk/search/Dorset/food

Dorset Council can provide emergency food parcels to people who have less than 2 days’ worth of food in the cupboard, and are unable to get to the shops (or get someone to go for them) within that time. Call 01305 221000 within business hours.

Events

TRUSTEES WEEK, 2 – 6 NOVEMBER: CAN will be promoting this via social media etc and can advertise Trustee roles – contact: https://www.can100.org/contact

Also their senior adviser Steve Place will be running a session later in the month: Being a Charity Trustee Training – 26th November 2020. This training covers:

  • What is a charity?
  • What is a trustee and what does a trustee do?
  • What are their legal responsibilities, as an individual and a group?
  • What are the possible liabilities and how to manage them?
  • How to be an effective trustee and why be a trustee?

Costs: £5 – members, £10 – non-members; book here: https://www.can100.org/Event/being-a-charity-trustee

Reports

Energy consumers face unprecedented challenges this winter: Citizens Advice research indicates that 2.8 m people are are already behind with their energy bills, and with people having to stay to stay at home more this winter due to coronavirus, some consumers will really struggle. The report encourages energy companies to continue to offer additional support, and Government to consider various actions, eg. topping up the Warm Home Discount scheme. Read more:

https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/energy-consumers-face-unprecedented-challenges-this-winter-1954405779ac

DWP: Pension freedom – a qualitative research study of individual’s decumulation journeys. The Pension Freedoms legislation in 2015 enabled consumers to flexibly access their Defined Contribution pension pots from the age of 55, and use the funds for a wider range of options. This report looks at people’s experiences and the factors which influenced their decisions. [If, like me, ‘decumulation’ is not a word that you use everyday, it means disposal of something accumulated and may come in useful now, for example, when I’m next planning a trip to the recycling centre!] Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-freedoms-a-qualitative-research-study-of-individuals-decumulation-journeys/pension-freedoms-a-qualitative-research-study-of-individuals-decumulation-journeys

Funding News

Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund Phase 3: Phase 3 will support voluntary groups addressing food insecurity where there are emerging or increasing needs in their communities as a result of hardship directly caused or exacerbated by the pandemic. Projects/services must be providing healthy, nutritious food directly to the public at low cost for those who cannot afford it.

Grants of up to £7,500 are available, or up to £2,000 for new groups.

Groups must have annual expenditure less than £500,000 according to their latest accounts and meet the DCF eligibility requirements. Groups funded in phase 1 or 2 may apply for a phase 3 grant. All grants should be fully spent by 31st March 2021. 

CLOSING DATE: mid day Friday 13 November

Read more: https://www.dorsetcommunityfoundation.org/dorset-coronavirus-community-fund/

CAF Resilience Fund: Grants ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 to deliver rapid relief from the impact of Covid-19; the fund will support those working with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, eg. those living in deprived areas, those supporting Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and people with disabilities. Organisations must be able to spend the funds by 31 March 2021. Read more: https://www.cafonline.org/charities/grantmaking/caf-resilience-fund

Voice4Change Covid19 Partnership Fund: Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 are available for BAME-led community groups and organisations that are working primarily with BAME communities. The grants programme has three sections:

  1. Delivering COVID 19 services. Groups can apply for help with current costs, if their funding has been affected by the pandemic.
  2. Delivering mental health and well-being services, particularly to those who have been further impacted by COVID 19
  3. Delivering sports activities to tackle BAME inequalities and help with the impact of COVID 19 including well-being initiatives

Closing date very soon – 3 November 2020. Read more: https://voice4change-england.com/covid-19-grants-programme/