Welcome to the Advice Partnership E News Bulletin

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).  As we have got to April, this edition is Number 1 of the new financial year!

During the Covid-19 outbreak we will be 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:  mailto:contact@caidorset.org.uk 

Covid-19 Information updates

BENEFITS:

DWP: Touchbase [9 April]gives a brief overview of recent news, and a number of links to eg. the new website (see below), and ‘Stay Home Save Lives’ leaflets in range of languages: http://news.dwp.gov.uk/dwplz/lz.aspx?p1=M5MDUxMTc1OFMyMTE0OjVCNUUxMUY4MkExMEJCOTdCNEQzMjAwOUU4QThFMzVB-&CC=&p=0

New DWP website: Employment and Benefits Support provides information about the changes the government has brought in to support people who are already claiming benefits, need to claim benefits, or are at risk of losing their job as a result of coronavirus. https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/?utm_source=http%3a%2f%2fnews.dwp.gov.uk%2fdwplz%2f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Coronavirus+Touchbase+special+-+9+April+2020&utm_term=Coronavirus+Touchbase+special+-+9+April+2020&utm_content=85711

Benefits E learning (free) from Housing Systems: covers UC, tax credits housing benefit, SSP/ESA, employed and self-employed scenarios, childcare costs, UC ‘change in circumstances advances’ and more, with useful little test questions along the way to see if you’ve got it! Correct as at 9 April. Takes about 45 minutes to do: https://www.housingsystems.co.uk/COVID-19/E-Learning

JOB RETENTION SCHEME: Furlough cut-off date extended to 19 March -read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-cut-off-date-extended-to-19-march

HOUSING: Defending Possession Proceedings – link to free pdf of this Legal Action Group guide: https://www.lag.org.uk/?id=207746&fromsearch=true#iosfirsthighlight

GRANTS FOR CLIENTS:

St Martins in the Fields VRF Emergency Fund offers vital support to people experiencing homelessness, or whose accommodation may be at risk. Grants available for eg. basic needs, securing accommodation, etc: http://frontlinenetwork.org.uk/news-and-views/2020/04/vrf-emergency-fund-launched/

LOOKING AFTER OUR MENTAL HEALTH: various websites available. Below is the link to the NHS ‘every mind matters’ info, which includes links to other resources: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Local Support

Just a reminder that our local community responses are fully mobilised, links as follows:

Dorset’s latest co-ordinated community response briefing is here: https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/emergencies-severe-weather/emergencies/coronavirus/co-ordinated-community-response-brief.pdf

BCP’s ‘Together we can’: https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Features/COVID19/Find-help-or-help-your-community/How-can-I-help/how-can-i-help.aspx

DORSET ENERGY ADVICE: (delivered by Citizens Advice) is able to offer phone and email advice during the Covid-19 situation, covering:

  • Topping up pre-payment meters
  • Advice if struggling with energy bills
  • Eligibility for extra income Liaise to resolve issues with energy supplier
  • Referral on for other support, particularly if in self-isolation

01929 775500 http://www.purbeckadvice.org.uk/contact-us.html FLYER:

Dorset Digital Hotline 01305 221000, 10 – 12: Support includes:

  • helping families with digital applications for home schooling
  • providing help to get online for home shopping
  • support for all digital NHS services 
  • setting up Skype to keep in contact with friends and family

https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/business-consumers-licences/superfast-dorset/getting-online.aspx

Help and Care;: public-facing leaflet on their Covid 19 reponse, offering wellbeing checks, reassurance calls, information and problem solving – 0303 303 0153:

Also, Help and Care’s current referral and action process:

Families: information and ideas from Dorset Family Information service; https://mailchi.mp/dorsetcouncil/march-fis-newsletter-3119993?e=86de3162ca

Research and Report

Citizens Advice says further fixes to the Coronavirus safety net are needed: Citizens Advice fears the government’s bold action to protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic could be undermined by confusion and patchy use of the job retention scheme by some employers.  The charity’s frontline advisers are seeing cases on a daily basis of people who are at risk of slipping through the safety net despite potentially being entitled to government support. 

New research from Citizens Advice shows around 6 million people in the UK (18% of the total workforce) have already seen their hours cut, been laid off or made redundant. And almost four out of 10 (38%) people have lost household income because of this crisis, with nearly one in 12 (8%) losing 80% of their household income or more. …….. read the press release here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/further-fixes-to-coronavirus-safety-net-needed-as-millions-see-hit-to-their-incomes1/

Read the report here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-policy-research/ensuring-people-do-not-fall-through-the-gaps-in-the-governments-employment-support-schemes/

Funding

The Barclays Foundation has been established initially to provide a COVID-19 Community Aid Package of £100 million to charities working to support vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19, and to alleviate the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis. The package is made up of two components.

First, a corporate contribution of £50 million, which will be donated to, and deployed via, a variety of charities working to support vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19, and in alleviating the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis. The money will be disbursed principally in the UK, but also in Barclays’ international markets, including the USA and India.

Second, is a £50 million commitment by Barclays to match personal donations made by our employees to charities of their choice, local to them, and which are working to support communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. https://home.barclays/news/press-releases/2020/04/barclays-launches-p100-million-covid-19-community-aid-package/

Tescos Bags of Help Covid-19 Community Fund: Tesco Bags of Help is responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities. Due to the need to respond quickly to the emergency we have created a streamlined application process and payment process to make it easier to get funds distributed quickly. If your application is successful the fund will provide a single payment award of £500 to organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups. The programme is set up to support organisational need in this time of crisis rather than fund specific projects. This fund appears to be still open for organisations in the South West BUT check their website: https://tescobagsofhelp.org.uk/grant-schemes/tesco-cv-fund/