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

Information Updates

NOVEMBER FACT SHEET: up to date as at 17 November:

CURRENT LOCKDOWN ISSUES

CJRS – Furlough: Govt guidance was updated on 13 November to give more detail on certain scenarios, such as what happens if an employee is given notice, the rules for agency workers etc. Read more: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1290/regulation/3/made

NHS Test and Trace Support Payment: If you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum. There are standard eligibility criteria, but Local Authorite can also offer discretionary schemes with their own criteria. For local info go to:

Dorset: https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/emergencies-severe-weather/emergencies/coronavirus/test-and-trace-support-payment/nhs-test-and-trace-support-payment.aspx

BCP: https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Features/COVID-19/Help-advice-and-support/Test-and-Trace-Support-Payment.aspx

Children and Families – winter support package: The Government has announced various measures to tackle poor health, hunger and education, including:

  • £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter
  • Holiday Activities and Food programme to be expanded, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021
  • Healthy Start payments set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021

Local authorities will receive funding at the beginning of December. Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-winter-package-to-provide-further-support-for-children-and-families

BENEFITS

Universal Credit: Correction to last week’s information about when someone receives two wage payments in one assessed period: this only applies to two monthly payments in one period, such as being paid early at Christmas (so it’s not for eg. two 4-weekly payments in one period). CPAG have published a blog explaining what people in this situation can do: https://cpag.org.uk/news-blogs/news-listings/new-universal-credit-assessment-period-regulations

HOUSING

Evictions paused until January 2021: Evictions by bailiffs or High Court enforcement officers won’t take place in England until 11 January 2021 unless a possession order was granted due to:

  • illegal trespass or squatting by persons unknown, 
  • nuisance or antisocial behaviour, 
  • domestic abuse, fraud or deception 
  • properties unoccupied following the death of the defendant 
  • substantial rent arrears 

Evictions following a Section 21 Notice (for private assured shorthold tenants) can’t go ahead – even if the reason the landlord served the notice is set out above.  The regulations are here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1290/made

OTHER

Family Court proceedings: Resolution have published top tips for people representing themselves at hearings (Litigants in Person): https://resolution.org.uk/top-tips-for-litigants-in-person-lips/

Maternity Rights: Maternity Action have updated their Covid19 FAQx on maternity rights and benefits – here: https://maternityaction.org.uk/covidmaternityfaqs/

Bailiffs: Temporary ban on Bailiffs entering a ‘dwelling’ in place until 3 December 2020: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1290/regulation/3/made

Surviving Economic Abuse is a charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it. They have various useful guides on their website: https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/resources/

Local Information

Surviving Winter appeal: Dorset Community Foundation has launched it’s annual Surviving Winter Appeal to raise donations for local older people suffering during the winter months from the combined effects of fuel poverty and social isolation. To donate go to: https://www.dorsetcommunityfoundation.org/appeals/surviving-winter/

Surviving Winter grants are availabe to people over 60 in fuel poverty, and local residents over 50 who meet the winter fuel poverty criteria, have significant health conditions, are on the highest level of benefits and have little current chance of improving life circumstances.

The Foundation is working together with the local Citizens Advice branches across Dorset to disperse donations raised for older people in need across Dorset. If you need support please contact them on 01929 775500 or at SW@cabnet.org.uk.

Ansbury Guidance provide expert independent careers and employability information, advice, guidance and training to benefit young people, adults, the economy and community. below iaa leaflte w uwith a summary fo all theri current projects, adn you can also visit their website here: https://www.ansbury.co.uk/

Events, training etc

This is NATIONAL CONSUMER WEEK: If you want a short presentation for your teams, or for a session with your clients, this is the Citizens Advice presentation on buying online:

We are also part of the way through National Safeguarding Week, which aims to create a time where we can all focus on safeguarding adults. Each day will be focused on a different safeguarding adults at risk issue. More information ad resources are here: https://www.anncrafttrust.org/safeguarding-adults-week-2020-links-and-resources/

Safer Gambling Week, 19 – 25 November, is a campaign led by the gambling industry that aims to create a conversation with customers, staff and the wider public about safer gambling, driving awareness of:

  • how to gamble more safely;
  • the tools that are available to help people gamble safely all year round;
  • sources of more advice and support.

For resources: https://safergamblinguk.org/sgw

Stop Loan Sharks Week: The England Illegal Money Lending Team is launching its annual Stop Loan Sharks Week Christmas campaign on the 30th November. The theme this year is avoiding loan sharks online amid concerns more people are falling prey to unscrupulous lenders on social media. We want to help people avoid loan shark rackets online in the run-up to Christmas.

Here is a link to the Campaign Toolkit with lots of information and materials, and for social media the hashtag is #SharkFreeSurfing

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aTLtx9wwmvgLlRWqpoQNC8k5twJZFtf8

Dorset Community Action webinar: Introduction to Policies and Procedures – Wednesday 25 November, 9.45am. The purpose of this training is to give you a broad overview of the topic, help you understand definitions and terminology, be aware of the key steps and know where to access further support and information. Cost £30 – 40. Book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dca-training-introduction-to-policies-and-procedures-tickets-126936487451

COVID CASH COURSES: The Just Finance Foundation is running three more COVID Cash Recovery courses – a free 2-hour course which upskills churches, charities and community workers to help individuals recover from the financial problems that have arisen due to the coronavirus. It covers benefit entitlements, grants, budgeting, bills, debt etc. Book via eventbrite:

Monday 23 November 5 – 7pm: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/covid-cash-recovery-learn-how-to-help-your-community-tickets-128461635209.

Tuesday 24 November 10-12: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/covid-cash-recovery-learn-how-to-help-your-community-tickets-128856233463

Thursday 26 November 10 – 12: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/covid-cash-recovery-learn-how-to-help-your-community-tickets-128461673323

Reports

POLICY IN PRACTICE Blog – Free School Meals: Whilst the Covid Winter grant Scheme (see above) is welcome, Policy in Practice has carried out new analysis which highlights the financial difficulties families face when burdened with the extra cost of children’s meals that, in term time, are provided for by the government. They present several strategies the government could adopt to ensure that no family is in financial crisis as a result of the school holidays; this includes extending free school meals to all children from households in receipt of Universal Credit. Read more: https://policyinpractice.co.uk/free-school-meals-should-be-for-all-school-holidays-not-just-for-christmas/

CITIZENS ADVICE: Tribunal Trouble – how a backlogged tribunal system is stopping people enforcing their rights. This national report published in October shows that coronavirus-related restrictions have significantly reduced employment tribunals’ capacity to deliver redress, at a time of rising demand. The resulting huge backlog and protracted waiting times will be enough to deter many potential claimants – and prompt others to withdraw from the process. Read more: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/work-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/work-policy-research/tribunal-trouble-how-a-backlogged-tribunal-system-is-stopping-people-enforcing-their-rights/

Funding News

Dorset Community Foundation’s Neighbourhood Fund has just opened. Grants are for up to £5,000, for organisations with an annual income below £250k. The fund supports local charities and community groups whose work addresses local issues, social problems, poverty and disadvantage due to age, illness, disability, isolation, discrimination or financial hardship. Two particualr priorites:

1) Services that support older people to lead more active, healthy and independent lives (addressing social isolation and loneliness, declining health, poor access to services and support for carers).

2) Services that support those with mental health problems.

Deadline – 13 January. Read more: https://www.dorsetcommunityfoundation.org/funds/neighbourhood-fund/

Cherries Community Fund [AFCB]: The fund has provided financial assistance to projects that help to develop young people and vulnerable groups, or those that promote sport and a healthy lifestyle in the area of Dorset.

The latest scheme is the new 12 Days of Christmas project, that will give 12 organisations based in Dorset a £1,000 contribution. In what has been a challenging year for everyone, supporters will be able to vote for the dozen charities to receive an even share of the £12,000 total available.

Applications close on 23 November 2020. Read more: https://www.afcb.co.uk/news/club-news/cherries-community-fund-to-donate-this-christmas/

National Academy of Social Prescribing: Thriving Communities initiative will support local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise projects that bring together place-based partnerships to improve and increase the range and reach of available social prescribing community activities – especially for those people most impacted by COVID19 and health inequalities.

Funded activities will increase social connectedness and help communities cope with the impact of COVID19. By working with those communities most impacted by the COVID19 pandemic, including Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities, the projects we will fund will help to:

  • strengthen the range of social prescribing activities offered locally
  • enhance collaboration and networking between local organisations
  • enable social prescribing link workers to connect people to more creative community activities and services.

Grants of between £25,000-£50,000 are available. Projects within the Thriving Communities Fund will run for a year including planning and delivery time. The Fund opens on  23 November, closes 8 January 2021. Projects are expected to commence on 15 March 2021, and end on 31 March 2022. Read more:

https://socialprescribingacademy.org.uk/thriving-communities/thriving-communities-fund/

ESFA Community Training Grants (Dorset) :

In Dorset, there are communities and groups who have difficulty accessing the labour market. In rural areas low population density means that there are difficulties with access to employment and training. Within urban areas of Dorset some residents are second and third generation unemployed, and therefore face greater barriers to accessing employment and training.

Through the Community Training Grants projects can support individuals through a range of formal and informal training which can offer vocational skills or softer skills such as building confidence or dealing with anger management. This is a rolling programme and the next deadline is 18 January 2021. Read more: https://www.groundwork.org.uk/apply-for-a-grant/south-grants/esfa-grants-dorset/