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

The Advice Dorset Partnership updated December Fact Sheet is here:

BENEFITS

Jobcentre Plus – Christmas opening times: https://www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus/christmas-and-new-year-opening

Benefit fraud – appealing to restore legacy benefits: CPAG have produced template letters to support any mandatory reconsideration request or appeal for someone who was moved to UC from legacy benefits and/or tax credits due to a fraudulent claim in their name.: https://cpag.org.uk/welfare-rights/judicial-review/judicial-review-pre-action-letters/fraud-uc-claimed-fraudulently-3rd-party

Benefits Training Co – December news summary: Includes a summary of the effect of Brexit on EEA nationals claiming benefits, reports on the various calls being made to retain the £20 uplift to benefits, and more – here.

EMPLOYMENT

Disability Confident guide: A revised version of the Disability Confident / CIPD guide for line managers on disability employment has been published. The guide has been updated to reflect the changes in the world of work since the coronavirus outbreak, and is a practical guide for line managers on recruiting, managing and developing people with a disability or health condition. Read the guide here.

HOUSING

Possession guidance updated 27 November 2020: Aimed at private landlords letting under Assured and Assured Shorthold agreements, this is a useful resume of Covid19 changes. Landlords may be able to rely on the specified exemptions to obtain a warrant of eviction between 11 December 2020 and 11 January 2021; they will have to apply for a warrant to enforce a possession order, and that order must have been made on one of the grounds listed as an exemption. Read the possession guidance.

Advice for private tenants is here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/ending-your-tenancy/get-help-if-youre-being-evicted-england/

Housing Allocations for EEA nationals from 1 January 2021: The MHCLG has written to local authorities with ‘ initial guidance’ on how changes to legislation that come into force at the end of the EU exit transition period on 31 December 2020 will impact on their responsibilities for assessing the eligibility of EEA citizens and their family members for social housing and homelessness assistance.

Those with settled or pre-settled status will still be entitled to assistance, as will those who are eligible for settled status and are applying during the ‘grace period’ which runs from 1 January 2021 until 30 June 2021. However. newly arrived EU/EEA citizens ‘will come under the new points-based immigration system. Under that system, access to benefits and services will be the same for EEA and non-EEA citizens. They will generally be considered eligible after indefinite leave to remain is granted, usually after five years of continuous residence; unless they are within one of the exempted categories in the Eligibility Regulations.’

Read more; https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/939394/EU_Transition_-_Notification_of_change_letter_to_LAs_.pdf

OTHER

Charitable Help for individuals: The Association of Charitable Organisation’s Here to Help campaign is raising awareness of the help grant-giving charities can provide to those struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and also aims to raise awareness of the work of this often lesser-known part of the charity sector.  Below are links to this campaign and to Turn2Us, which many of you will already be aware of:

Winter Fuel Payments letter: 60,000+ letters on the scheme were sent out with incorrect information, which in a small number of cases could affect how much people are paid.

People who were aged 66 and above on 5 October 2020 and lived in the UK for at least one day between 21 and 27 September 2020 are eligible for a one-off payment to help with heating bills through the winter.  59,000 letters had incorrect bank account details, and others listed the wrong amount….the DWP states it is correcting this. Read more on this on the MSE website.

Guidance for your organisation: NCVO has updated its Coronavirus Know How pages, with advice on staffing, volunteers, delivering services, safeguarding etc here.

Local Informaion

Dorset Council support to residents this winter – read more.

BCP Council news of support – read more.

EU Settled Status – support. Don’t forget the EU Settlement Scheme project team at Citizens Advice BCP can be reached at euss.advice@citizensadvicebcp.org.uk. They are offering assistance to all residents of Dorset, and also have a programme of outreach session, details below. .

Dorset Community Action: read their latest E Bulletin here: https://www.dorsetcommunityaction.org.uk/latest/news/enews5/

Dorset Public Health – Trusted Voices: Latest newsletter (4 December) with information and various links: Follow this link.

Events

Big Energy Saving Network – training for frontline staff / volunteers:

FREE training sessions for front line staff and volunteers working in and with the community to help households in or at risk of fuel poverty, including people facing difficulty in heating their homes – helping to save money and keep warm. 

The training is aimed at anyone who encounters households, either face to face or by telephone, who are in or at risk of fuel poverty i.e those on a low income / in a vulnerable situation and may be struggling to pay their energy bills. The training will enable staff to identify how best to help those clients and where to signpost them for additional support.

Sessions in the new year are in 20 January and 23 February. Training will take place online (Zoom) with a presentation and Q&A session; book via eventbrite: .

If you want someone to attend a team meeting or set up a specific training session for your organisation, email rl@purbeck.cabnet.org.uk

DCA Networking Event – New Year planning – Wednesday 16 December 11.30. A chance to share plans and concerns. Booking: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dca-networking-event-new-year-planning-tickets-131446904229

Online course from Quaker Social Action: Starting positive conversations about money. For frontline support workers in housing, homelessness, mental health and social care , to ‘help your clients get their money worries under control so you can concentrate on the important stuff’. Thursday 17 December, 2 – 4.30, £40. Info and booking, here.

Research, Reports etc

Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner’s latest guest blog is by Rovarn Wickremasinghe, Chief Officer of Bridport Citizens Advice, and focuses on housing problems – people struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, threats of eviction, etc – and includes key information and links to other advice. Read more here.

BPAS Report – ‘Forced into a corner’: Research carried out by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service has found that the two-child limit on benefits has been a “significant factor” in women’s decisions to end a pregnancy during the pandemic.

The government’s two-child limit policy, which was first introduced in April 2017, severely restricts the amount of financial support for low income families with three or more children. This additional support is worth nearly £2,900 per child per year. A survey of women who ended a pregnancy during the pandemic found financial factors played a role in most decisions – with 57% of women who were aware of and likely to be affected by the two-child child limit saying it impacted their choice. Read more two child limit:

‘My disability isn’t always visible’: Blog from James MacEvoy at national citizens Advice sets out to ‘raise awareness of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, and to show you we can’t assume what others are experiencing’. Read the blog here.

The blog also includes a link to Scope’s article on the social model of disability, here: https://www.scope.org.uk/about-us/social-model-of-disability/

Gambleaware – November Briefing Note is here.

Funding News

BBC Children in Need – small and main grants. Deadline 11.30am on 21 December 2020. Registered not-for-profit organisations that work with disadvantaged children and young people of 18 years and under can apply for grants of either up to £10,000 or from £10,001.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the funder has temporarily broadened the types of applications it is accepting. Applications are encouraged for:

·        Project delivery (Including staffing and salary costs)

·        Creative solutions to deliver much needed services

·        Organisational costs to support stability and adaptation. (Including the day-to-day running costs of an organisation as opposed to specific project costs)

All applications will have to show how this funding will make a difference to children and young people’s lives during this crisis. Applications are not limited to one specific project and a request can be made for organisational running costs. The funder is committed to supporting voluntary groups with these types of grants.

Read more here.

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced that the short-term emergency phase of funding is coming to an end and the following regular funding programmes for England have re-opened for applications:

·        National Lottery Awards for All

·        Reaching Communities

·        Partnerships

Read more on these programmers here.

Kelly Family Charitable Trust is prioritising funding that benefits all or most members of a family, with grants of up to £5,000. The three areas of activity that the charity wishes to support are:

  • Interventions that support families and help them in ways that prevent the fracture of the family unit, eg practical family support, relationship counselling, mediation
  • Families where sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and drug abuse threaten the integrity of the family unit
  • Prisoners and in particular their families, during and after the period of imprisonment

Read more here.

Fat Beehive Foundation: Grants of up to £2,500 are available. The funding is to be used to build websites or digital products. They re suppotign rject invove di soial justce, equality adn diverity, health and weelbeing etc Read more.

Trusts which support projects in Dorset with small grants include:

  • Edgar Lee Foundation – more information here.
  • Leonard Laity Stoate Charitable Trust – their website is here.