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

Citizens Advice Central Dorset – Debt advice roles. The deadline for application for these 2 posts is now 31 March 2021. For an informal chat regarding the positions please speak to: Diana Hensher – 01305 257124 – or email Diana.
For an application pack please email: hr@centralca.org.uk

1: Debt Caseworker – MaPS Project: Permanent Contract – 30 Hours per week – working remotely and/or based in our Weymouth office. Read more:

2: Debt Caseworker (including Supervision work):1 year contract – 30 Hours per week – covering North Dorset and Sherborne areas. Read more:

Information updates

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) extension:

SEISS grant 4: Claims for the 4th grant begin mid-April when HMRC will contact those eligible. The application process closes on 31 May 2021.

Grant 4 provides a single payment from HMRC of up to 80% of 3 months trading profits capped at £7,500, based on an average of trading profits for a maximum of 4 tax years between 2016-2020 (where applicable).

  • Trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to non-trading income
  • Evidence of significant financial impact from coronavirus between February 2021 and April 2021 must be provided

Previous successful SEISS claimants may receive grants that are higher or lower in value than any previous payments because of the impact of the 2019/2020 tax return information. Read the government guidance here.

SEISS grant 5: The final grant covers May to September 2021 and will be based on how much turnover has been reduced. More details in due course.

EMPLOYMENT

Covid19 Workplace testing programme: All businesses can now sign up for free Covid19 testing – but need to do so by 31 March 2021. Read more here.

HOUSING

Evictions: The ban on evictions has been extended until 31 May 2021. Residential landlords are still required to provide 6 months notice in most cases before starting possession action in the courts until at least 31 May 2021. The exceptions to this is if notice has been given due to: 

  • Serious Anti-social Behaviour (ASB)
  • Rent arrears exceeding the equivalent of more than 6 months rent 
  • Social housing tenancies where they’re the perpetrator of domestic abuse and the victim has permanently left the property
  • Making a false statement to obtain the property 
  • The tenant has died and the property is empty
  • The tenant has no right to rent due to their immigration status

Access to housing for those with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF): The High Court has ruled that councils have the power to lawfully house those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) during the COVID-19 pandemic .However, the judge highlighted the council’s discretion in exercising these powers, emphasising they are not obligations. This means that advisers will still need to consider the risks of approaching the local authority for assistance where their client has a precarious immigration status. The case s Ncube vs Brighton & Hove County Council and is reported on the BBC website.

Shelter Legal: For in-depth housing advice, case law etc, this is a good website and this link takes you to a summary of recent updates.

OTHER

International Travel: If people have a legally permitted reason to travel abroad, they must complete a form. Read the guidance here. Carriers will be checking the form before boarding. There is a fine of £200 for anyone who fails to produce a completed form. It will still be a requirement after the planned relaxation of restrictions on the 29 March. Meanwhile a task force is due to report by 12 April on a plan for safe international travel in the future. See also the Citizens Advice blog below.

Settled Status: The charity ‘Settled’ has a number of useful leaflets on its website, including what to do after you have applied, and how to apply as a joining family member. Read more here.

LOCAL

Dorset Community Action’s latest Newsletter is here.

Events

Illegal Money Lending Team [Stop Laon Sharks]: Training courses available:

  • Could you spot a loan shark? Tuesday 27 April, 10.30 – 12. Book here.
  • Changing Lives: A loan shark victim’s journey and the part you play. Tuesday 1 May, 10.30 – 12. Book here.

NB: The England Illegal Money Lending Team have just officially launched a new partner recognition scheme. This is a self-assessment appraisal that you can complete in partnership with the team. The guidance booklet contains information about the scheme and info about achieving your accreditation with the Stop Loan Sharks Team. If you are interested, please contact Lin Fisher to discuss further.

Young Carers Action Day [March 16th]: useful resources are on the Carer’s Trust website here.

Reports, research, blogs etc

Citizens Advice blog – 5 top tips if you are booking a holiday abroad this year: Includes – checking cancellation conditions, checking the local requirements for entering a country and returning to the UK, and the protection of paying by credit card, even if just the deposit. Read more here.

Tribunal statistics: The government has published analysis of recent statistics for all tribunals here. For Employment Tribunals the data identifies that both single and multiple claims are significantly on the increase, with a spike in Age Discrimination claims. The most common areas of jurisdiction are unfair dismissal, unauthorised deductions and Working Time. 

Funding

The Christchurch Charitable Trust is a local, independent, registered charity who are able to provide financial support by way of grants to organisations and projects which benefit the community in the Christchurch area.

Groups can apply for grants in the £500 to £5,000 range for purposes which include:

  • providing funds to support services to vulnerable groups in the community, be they the young or elderly or those with disabilities or other disadvantages
  • the advancement of community cohesion and development (including supporting the running of community events when that becomes possible again)
  • the advancement of education, health, heritage and environmental protection & improvement

Read more here.

Children in Need: Small and main grant (over £10K) programmes -next deadline 12 April 2021 – for projects supporting children and young people aged 18 years and under experiencing disadvantage through:

  1. Illness, distress, abuse or neglect.
  2. Any kind of disability.
  3. Behavioural or psychological difficulties.
  4. Living in poverty or situations of deprivation.

The work we fund make differences in children’s lives that help prevent or overcome the effects of the disadvantages they face. Funded organisations achieve these differences by either working directly with children or seeking to improve their social and physical environments. Read more here.

The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded grant-making trust which has been supporting charities across the UK for over 60 years. From small community groups to large national institutions, the Trustees’ aim is to support organisations that have effective solutions to helping those most in need.

The Foundation supports UK registered charities working within the UK in the areas of Welfare, Youth, Community, Arts, Faith, Environment, Education, Health and Museums & Heritage. There is a one-stage process which typically takes around four months from submitting your application to receiving a decision. Read more here.