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Janet’s Weekly Blog – 01/06/20

Practicing Kindness

It was Mental Health Awareness week last week and “practicing kindness “ was the overall theme for this year’s campaign and it got me thinking about what that meant to me and my family.

It’s been proved that practicing kindness, both to others and ourselves, can be a powerful way to nurture good mental health.

Kindness is simple but not always easy, especially after a long day, or during a health crisis such as the one we’re facing now

These resources may be able to give you ideas about how to bring more kindness to those around you and yourself.

Check out some of these websites there really is some good ideas, I have tried quite a few from “upgrading tatty items “ to “taking time out “

Kindness and compassion for yourself

                  Kindness and compassion for others

If you need more, help is available – try the in-depth resources on our coronavirus support page, or you can call Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123.

Janet Mylchreest 01/06/20

Janet’s weekly Blog – 11/05/20

Customer Support Standards

Pre-pandemic, we knew that people with mental health problems struggled to manage their financial wellbeing and access essential services, including financial services, water, energy, and telecoms problems and could be exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.  

People with pre-existing mental health problems risk their condition deteriorating as they navigate challenges without much-needed help from loved ones or professionals.

Growing numbers of people start to experience poor mental health, distress and anxiety, which could in turn lead to struggles managing money and a fear of contacting essential service providers.

Many will struggle with the double whammy of reduced income and higher bills from being at home more.

To support essential service providers and their front-line staff, The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute have put together a list of eight urgent standards that organisations can adopt right now 

Eight standards that firms can adopt  to support the growing number of customers in distress

Just a few thought of mine

  • not disconnecting people from essential services writing to customers to let them know what support is available 
  • making it easier to get in touch remotely by increasing webchat capacity 
  • and offering callbacks
  • telling customers on websites and telephone on-hold messages, things like, which documents they’ll need, what questions might be asked, how else people can get in touch and what the likely wait time is 
  • breaking down information into manageable sections and waiting while customers write it down
  • helping customers stay in control of their spending by having easy to use spending caps or blocks on certain types of spending
  • signposting to additional support services

Please take a look at the The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (link above) and see if there is anything you can use to help the people you care for.

Janets Weekly Blog – 27/04/20

Janets Weekly Blog – 27/04/20

Staying happy, healthy and safe- Missing Friends and Family Members

I have shared some great ideas that I saw on a Go Play Sandwell document 

At the moment, things might feel very strange; you might be really missing seeing and being with your friends or family members who don’t live with you. But by staying safe at home, we can keep our family and friends safe too. If you are missing your friends and family, some of the ideas below might help you to stay in touch.

IdeaI have had a go at this
Make a list of your favourite friends and family phone numbers,
email addresses, postal addresses. 

Sharing is caring: remember to tell someone that you live with
about how you feel.

Write a letter, poem or rap to a friend or a family member telling
them why they are a good friend/relative to you and what you
miss most about not being able to spend time with them.
You could also share your favourite memories of times you
spent together. Parents can post letters when they do an
essential shop.

Plan a list of activities that you want to do with your friends
when you can see each other again.

Create a collage of photos of your friends and families; if you
don’t have any photos draw them instead! 

Arrange to watch things on TV or online with your friends and
then call them to chat about what you thought of it on phone
or gaming device. 

Set up a weekly challenge (remember to stay safe online!) 
Create a list of activities between your friends and yourselves.
Share the photos and vote for the best response. Some
examples could includeA weekly bake-off challenge and then
post pictures of your efforts. -A garden/home treasure hunt.
Have a start-stop time and post pictures of the things you have
found Have an online karaoke party Hold a book club and
choose one book to read each week. Think of one question
each about the book and have an online discussion. 
 Choose a time to all visit an online zoo and then talk to one
another about your experience. 

Keep a journal: just a sentence or a picture a day about how
you feel, what you did so you can share it with friends or
family later.

Sharing memories about my family start a family tree; this
is a great way to share memories of our family members,
have a look at family photos (both digital and physical).  
Make a list of your family members and all come up with
a positive thing about them and write it next to their name.
You can do this with your friends on social media too. Make
a keepsake box of tickets, receipts, photos, trinkets – things
that make memories of your family member.  Draw a
picture with yourself in the middle and your family
members around you write a positive thing that links
you to each member. 

Choose a day to have a family picnic in the garden or a
carpet picnic in the house and ask your other family
members to do the same and share the fun on your video phones.

Janets Blog

Something a little more fun this week a Quiz –  Your ATTITUDES TO CASH 

Read each situation and mark which option, A to E most applies to you  

Have a Go ! – it’s a fun way to THINK about Money and if done with a  family member a great opportunity to TALK about Money.

SituationABCDE
What do you think about money ?You never think about itYou get by You feel that you shouldmanage it betterYou’re pretty good at managing itPeople ask you for advice
Saving money Is …Something others doImpossibleSomething you aim to doAn important part of looking after your moneyThe whole point to life
Your attitude to retirement savings is Your not saving – you’re too youngYou keep thinking about it but don’t startYou have started a pensionYou’re worked out how much you need to saveYou try to save as much as you can
When shopping you like to …Buy what you fancyHave an idea of what you want but get side trackedMake a list but don’t stick to itMake a list and stick to itBuy whatever is cheapest
What is your main aim in life when it comes to money ?Don’t really have oneBuy whatever you wantHave enough to treat yourself regularlyKnow what’s coming in and going out regularlySave as much as possible

Answers

Mostly A –  You’re a debt collectors dream

You could be in trouble. If you carry on with this carefree approach you may find you end up in debt . Learn some simple tips for looking after your money.

Mostly B –  Your a day to day debtor

You live for today. You never know quite where you are with your cash. A little bit of planning could make your life a lot simpler.

 Mostly C –  You’re a smart spender

You are reasonably in control, but would like a little more help. You just need to keep a closer track of your cash.

Mostly D –  You’re a careful controller

You plan for every penny and the unexpected will not worry you.

Mostly E –  You’re a squirrel

You love saving – try to learn to spend some today rather than just save for 

tomorrow. 

For some help and guidance go to our favourite website for information and tips on Budgeting & Saving  https://sandwell.betteroff.org.uk/

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 from tomorrow we will not be able to provide an ‘open door’ drop-in service for at least two weeks.

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

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)