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Janet’s Blog


More financial information this week 

What’s happening with our bank accounts and credit/store cards

Your Bank

The first £500 of authorised overdrafts can be interest-free for 3months (for overdrafts under £500, the entire balance will be interest-free).

Those with accounts that have an overdraft facility, who are struggling due to coronavirus, should be able to request one of these 0% overdrafts, subject to a credit score.

To be fair, many banks were offering some easing anyway, but this deletes the ‘lottery’ element. After all, no one chose a bank based on how well they’d behave in this never-imagined crisis

Please check what your bank is doing. Many have sent texts to inform us of their policies during this time.

Your credit cards, store cards, personal loans and catalogues

They all must offer a payment holiday

The FCA also proposes that all lenders will be expected to move towards offering payment holidays of up to 3mths on personal loans, credit cards and catalogue debts – so if you can’t pay, you won’t need to.

Don’t just stop payment though – you need to agree with them.

Once done, these payments aren’t allowed to hurt your creditworthiness, nor can there be any penalties or charges if you do, you can’t lose a 0% deal either

-Is it worth taking a payment holiday? 

Yes if you have an emergency cash flow need, no if not. That’s especially true if the interest rate is high, as it’ll still rack up during the payment holiday, and as you’re not making repayments it can be hefty. So only do this if you need it.

– Does this apply to car finance, payday loans & other short-term credit too?

 No, although I hear at least with car finance, the regulator is likely to make an announcement soon, though lenders are already required to show forbearance to customers. 

Janet April 2020

Janet’s Blog


To help our financial well being

Here’s a list of things that can really help and I feel a must in these difficult times, I have called it our FAB FOUR

1.TALK ABOUT MONEY

2.MAKE A BUDGET 

3.CHECK YOUR POLICIES 

4.SPEAK TO CREDITORS

1. Talk about Money 

How do we start conversations about money, it’s a difficult one and one many of us shy away from

Take a deep breath and ASK!

It’s good to Talk with someone we trust.

If you know people you think may be struggling financially, make time to call to check in on them

There are some Tips on Talking about money on the Money Advice Service website

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/talking-about-money

And a pdf doc that may bemaybe good to distribute

https://www.capitalmass.org.uk/perch/resources/files/difficultconversations-talkingaboutmoney.pd

2. Make a Budget

It’s always a good idea to do a budget but at this difficult time we all should all do an “emergency budget” whether that’s a full spreadsheet or on the back of an envelope, or one of our online planners, anything is better than nothing.

It’s not always much fun but you will be pleased you did it once it’s all over

 This is what a colleague sent me earlier this week   ………………..

“From our own situations, we are having to shop and support both sets of elderly parents and have had to use more expensive corner shops to get their shopping as the supermarkets were not safe to go near,  I’m sure there’ll be others like us doing the same which will have a massive impact on budgets.”

There are some great online budget planners which work really well and in this time of home curfews  perhaps we have a little more time to have a go!

Go to our favourite website, https://sandwell.betteroff.org.uk/

CLICK on Get Help & Advice (bottom right ) then CLICK on Debt Advice and Budgeting then Budget Planners – Take your pick and have a go !

3. Check your Insurance policies

Check whether you have insurance policies that would cover your mortgage payments or replace some of your income. For example:

  • Payment protection insurance
  • Mortgage payment protection insurance
  • Accident, sickness and unemployment insurance

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-and-your-money#step-2-check-your-insurance-policies

4. Talk to your creditors if you think you might miss a payment

Once you’ve done your budget if you think you’re going to struggle to pay essential bills make sure you talk to the people you owe money to before it becomes a problem.

Take a look at our website some good advice

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-because-of-coronavirus

Good Luck

Janet April 2020

Covid-19 SCAMS


2.Newsletter   Covid-19 SCAMS

SCAMS    SCAMS SCAMS     SCAMS SCAMS SCAMS     SCAMS SCAMS SCAMS

We recognise that at this time it may be one of increased financial pressure for most people.

Now that the majority of the country will be working from home, it gives scammers a new opportunity to think of ingenious ways to gain access to data. We cannot stress enough the importance it is to remain vigilant at these times. If you receive a call you’re not expecting to terminate it immediately. If you receive an email that looks suspicious don’t click on any links or attachments.

Take a look and see what you can share with the people you care for, friends, family & colleagues.

Most importantly stay safe …. and some tools to help…..

1.  Check if something is an online Scam  – Have a go at the On-Line Scams Helper.https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam 

2. Scams – Key facts and all the data https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lTnWQ6LR0wTT3YqJyYW4qEnc3D5meaBZ3J9M19HdVHo/edit

3. Get help with online – Find out how to contact our Scams Helpline Service for advice

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ScamsAction/

4. Reporting a Scam – Action Fraud can get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate scams. They’ll also give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been scammed. Read our advice on trying to get your money back after a scam.

It’s quickest to report a scam to Action Fraud online, but you can also report the scam by phone.

Action Fraud Telephone: 0300 123 2040

Have a look at this latest SCAM WARNING from ActionFraud

 If you want to read more follow the link 

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/coronavirus-related-fraud-reports

Janet 

March 2020

Janet’s Blog


Please check out  Coronavirus and what it means to you 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/

There is some really useful information and links to some key questions that might be concerning you during this difficult time…

Check if something is a SCAM – lots of info plus an On-line Scam Helper

Staying at Home – you know what to do but just a reminder of govt.advice

Help you can get – the govt. has announced other ways of helping people

If you are extremely vulnerable because of a medical condition – info about shielding

Paying your Bills – check what help you can get and benefit entitlements

Going to Work – what is the govt.Job Retention Scheme

Taking your Children to School – check if you are a critical worker

If you cannot pay your Rent – what help is out there

If you are planning to travel abroad – what if your package holiday is canceled

And a lot more helpful information too

Coronavirus Update


Due to Coronavirus we are sorry to announce that we will not be able to provide an ‘open door’ drop-in service until further notice

This has been a hard decision to take, but the wellbeing of staff, volunteers and clients come first.

You will still be able to get advice from us:

Sandwell Advice Line: 0300 330 9017

Help To Claim Universal Credit: 0800 144 8444

Webchat: www.citizensadvicesandwell.org.uk

The Council also has useful information if you go to this website http://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200347/resilient_residents.

or you can email your questions here https://citizensadvicesandwell.org.uk/contact-us/

We will provide updates on our, Website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Thank you.

JOB VACANCY


Job Title:       Digital Money Coach– Black Country Click Start (Solely on this project)

Employer: Citizens Advice Sandwell

Hours:           37 hrs

Contract: 30/03/2020 – 30/03/2022

Salary:           £24,472

Closing Date: 09/03/2020

Interview Date: 17/03/2020

Black Country Click Start is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a charity that is a member of a national brand.  Join a growing organisation that excels in delivering a great service to clients and cares about its employees. Become a part of a team that puts excellence and clients at the forefront.

Citizens Advice Sandwell is seeking to recruit an enthusiastic Digital Money Coach to work on a busy project. This person will be required to provide ‘digital support’ for learners/clients using services and carrying out activities online.

The BBO Click Start project is a community-based project that works with members of the public to coach and overcome barriers individuals face to accessing online service. 

The Candidate must have the ability and willingness to travel throughout the Black Country.

The candidate must have a good standard of English, numeracy and I.T knowledge.  It is essential they can carry out administrative tasks accurately and meet deadlines with minimal supervision.

The client must be able to demonstrate working with members of the public on a 1-2-1 basis and would benefit from experience in a coaching/mentoring/tutoring role.

The candidate will be able to demonstrate experience of working with data and paperwork that require attention to detail and a high level of accuracy.

The candidate would benefit from being able to demonstrate experience of using complex spreadsheets and client management information systems.

To obtain an application pack for this post, please email: recruitment@citizensadvicesandwell.org.uk

JOB VACANCY


Job Title: Digital Support Worker– Black Country Click Start

Employer: Citizens Advice Sandwell

Hours: 37 hrs

Contract: 30/03/2020 – 30/03/2022

Salary: £17,372 

Closing Date: 09/03/2020

Interview Date: 19/03/2020

Black Country Click Start is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a charity that is a member of a national brand.  Join a growing organisation that excels in delivering a great service to clients and cares about its employees. Become a part of a team that puts excellence and clients at the forefront.

Citizens Advice Sandwell is seeking to recruit an enthusiastic Digital Support Worker to work on a busy project. This person will be required to provide ‘assisted digital support’ for learners/clients using services and carrying out activities online.

The BBO Click Start project is a community based project that works with members of the public to coach and overcome barriers individuals face to accessing online service. 

The Candidate must have the ability and willingness to travel throughout the Black Country.

The candidate must have a good standard of English, numeracy and I.T knowledge.  It is essential they can carry out administrative tasks accurately and meet deadlines with minimal supervision.

The candidate will be able to demonstrate experience of working with data and paperwork that require attention to detail and a high level of accuracy.

The candidate would benefit from being able to demonstrate experience of using complex spreadsheets and client management information systems.

To obtain an application pack for this post, please email: recruitment@citizensadvicesandwell.org.uk

JOB VACANCY


1 (WTE) Support Worker 

Hours: 37 hours per week – full time

Salary: £17,719 pa.  

Contract: Permanent 

Closing date: 4th March 2020

Interview date: 18th March 2020

This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a charity that is a member of a national brand.  Join a growing organisation that excels in delivering a great service to clients and cares about its employees. Become a part of a team that puts excellence and clients at the forefront.

Citizens Advice Sandwell is seeking to recruit an enthusiastic Support Worker to work in a busy office with a relatively large team of volunteers and staff.  This person will be required to appropriately triage clients who visit the office.

The Support Worker will oversee the functioning of the reception area and have excellent customer service skills. The ideal person must, therefore, be well organised, able to work under pressure, while maintaining high standards in all aspects of their work.  

The right person will motivate, nurture and support volunteers, as well as apprentices, who will be based in the reception area.  

The candidate must have a good standard of English, numeracy and I.T knowledge.  It is essential they can carry out administrative tasks accurately and meet deadlines with minimal supervision.  

To obtain an application pack for this post, please email: recruitment@citizensadvicesandwell.org.uk

Settling Well


A partnership between Citizens Advice Sandwell and Brushstrokes, helping newcomers to settle well in Sandwell, becoming economically and socially active and starting to contribute to the life of their local community

The project is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Who can receive support?

Sandwell residents who have newly arrived in the UK in the last 2 years. 
Support will not be available through the project for asylum seekers or individuals who are in the UK without leave to remain. 

What support can we provide?

Our support workers known as Community Navigators will deliver very practical advice and hands-on support to newcomers, dealing with their immediate issues and helping them to settle more permanently in Sandwell:

● Dealing with immediate problems, through advice on housing, benefits

● Support to access immigration advice

● “Settling Well” orientation to their new community. This will include accompanying clients to appointments, GP and dentist registration, familiarisation with appropriate use of health services, awareness of housing rights and responsibilities, familiarisation with local waste disposal arrangements.

● Support to access English classes

● Linking into local activities in the communities where the migrants settle, bringing resident communities and migrants together

Our approach – flexible and joined up preventative advice and support, tailored to meet the needs of each client.

To make a referral

You can contact us…

Email: settlingwell@citizensadvicesandwell.org.uk

Telephone: 0121 553 6431 (Option 5)


Outreach


On Thursday 9th January Tipton Locality will be starting a new outreach surgery at St Marks Church Hall in Tipton, offering debt and general advice from 10.00am – 2.00pm. No appointment necessary!