Partners’ News Letter:
EU Citizens Settlement Scheme Support:
The Citizens Advice service in Greater Manchester will be providing a specialist additional support service for European Citizens who need extra help to register as ‘Settled’ under the new Home Office scheme. Clients who need any help or specialist advice about the scheme can just access us normally. We will also be doing some public awareness and publicity work around the scheme over the next months. Keep an eye on our website for any changes around how the scheme is operating – as the picture around Brexit as well as the scheme itself might change.
We will be introducing a separate section on our website for European Citizens and advice around Brexit.
Client Use Data:
In the last quarter (quarter 4) we supported 5,317 people directly – this is broadly in line with this time last year. By the end of March 31, 2019 we had advised 20,428 people over the year, slightly up on last year. The first six months of the calendar year saw us being slightly busier. Over the year we advised on 61,406 different problems, of these 54% related to benefits, 19% debt, 7% housing, 4% employment rights, 3% family law, 2% health & social care, 2% immigration, and other issues 9%.
The last quarter saw a marked increase in our website traffic, a growth of 63%, to 16,874 hits (an annual total being 46,249). We think this increase was because we redesigned our website, and in particular have integrated our website with our social media work more generally.
In addition to this, some 1,561 people from Salford received advice from the national consumer advice service during the last financial year.
Reviewing our five year plan:
We are writing a new five year plan, and would welcome any suggestions partners might have. Once we have made some more progress we will publish the summary of our objectives for the next five years, and invite comments. You can make any comments to our chief officer, Tom, on email@example.com
Welcoming success around the Red Box project:
We have been working with Salford Food Share and the Salford Red Box project to ensure that a Red Box is available in all of Salford’s schools and colleges. A Red Box provides free sanitary products and underwear to make sure that girls or young women do not lose any time from their education because they are having their periods. We are also trying to increase awareness of menstruation, and of period poverty.
We are very proud that our work in Salford, along with that of many other communities has persuaded the Government to establish a fully funded sanitary products in schools programme form January 2020.
Running a campaign to improve Healthy Start Voucher Take-up:
We are at the first stages of running a new take up campaign around the government healthy start voucher scheme. This provides food and milk vouchers for new families, as well as access to vitamins. Take up for the scheme has begun to decrease in Salford – and we think we could do something about this. We are anxious to hear from partners whether they have any ideas for why take up is reducing. We plan to hold a discussion meeting about this – probably in the autumn.
New services from Swinton Gateway:
We are delighted to announce that we are now in Swinton Gateway every Monday and Wednesday. No appointment is necessary.
Help to Claim (Universal Credit)
The National Association of Citizens Advice secured funding to provide a support service for people moving on to Universal Credit. The service can help assess whether Universal Credit is right for you, and can help with all aspects of making you initial claim. We have an adviser in each of Salford’s Job Centres. You can also get more general support at any of our services.
For more information about this new service, which began operating in April – check out our website https://salfordcab.org.uk/universal-credit-in-salford/
Watch out for Universal Credit Scams:
We have been working with a number of partners to help prevent people falling fall of a number of new scams around Universal Credit. Please see the advice we published on our website in May.
We have raised the policy issue directly with the DWP, and through the National Association of Citizens Advice liaison channels with the DWP, and Government, as well having given active support to local partners’ efforts to publicise the scam.
To our partners we suggest that it will be useful to keep a log of the people affected, which might be useful in providing more information to the DWP.
Supporting the Healthy Holiday Programme:
We have been supporting the council and partners in the delivery of the city’s first ‘Healthy Holidays’ programme. Through this programme, a number of existing holiday hunger and holiday activity schemes, as well as a range of brand new projects have been co-ordinated to form a single city wide programme. In addition, the scheme is underwritten by an offer of a grant to all families with school children who are in receipt of free schools meals. The Citizens Advice crisis team will be able to place children on a number of these schemes, and you can access this service on 0161 212 4407.
Success of our school uniform project:
This year’s school uniform project helped even more children. We were able to help 218 children from 98 different families get uniforms for next year – this is in addition to those we have already helped last year – who are still receiving support under this programme. We are very grateful to Wood Street Mission for their help.
We are also in discussion with a number of local charities about a possible school uniform swap service in the city, and hope to hold a meeting to discuss this more broadly in September. If you would like to be involved in this do let us know.