Winter newsletter 2022

We’re facing rising need, with fewer people

The aftershocks of the pandemic are bringing pressures far greater than those we saw in lockdown. Inflation and job worries mean many more people will need our support, at a time when our own resources have been severely reduced. As our new chair of trustees says, we have a strong skill base and we understand what we must do so that our excellent paid and unpaid advisers can continue their vital work. We cannot do it on our own.

Also in this newsletter…

Reopening soon: We have given our Leamington offices a big spring-clean (without even waiting for spring), and we are now doing the same in Stratford-upon-Avon, ready for reopening to clients soon.
 
Enjoy our video: We ran a series of lively workshops before Christmas, seeking clients’ views as we reshape our service for the digital age. If you don’t know how co-production works, here’s your chance to find out. It’s quite fun. 

Shop talk: The community supermarket concept is coming to south Warwickshire and we will be there, offering advice to budget shoppers.

Read our Winter newsletter here 

Festive closures 2021

CASW wishes everyone a very happy festive break.

This year, more than most, our staff and volunteers need a good break after a tough year. We will be closed from 1pm on Friday 24th December to Monday 3rd January. We re-open on Tuesday 4th January. 

We recognise it is also a hard time for people living in south Warwickshire with advice needs that cannot wait until the new year. If you need our support, please call the national adviceline – 0800 144 8848 – during following hours over  the Christmas period:

24th December – 9am-1pm
27th December – Closed
28th December – Closed
29th December – 9am-5pm
30th December – 9am-5pm
31st December – 9am-1pm
3rd January – Closed

Foodbanks

Warwick District Foodbank 
Closed from Friday 24th December and reopen on Tuesday 4th January with the session at Southorn Court, Lillington at 11:00am.

Stratford-on-Avon District Foodbank 
Distribution sessions remain unchanged except for Monday 27th December – CLOSED.

For an emergency contact the Foodbank direct on: Email: referrals.suafoodbank@gmail.com or Call: 07736 929029

Join us this November for our AGM!

On Thursday 18th November at 10.30 we will be holding our AGM on Zoom. 

Please join us and hear about our achievements in 2020-21

We have a range of speakers to tell you more about our work, our usual awards and of course the business of our AGM

Click here to book your place

Members’ voting papers: 

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire – Signed Financial Statements 31.03.2021 (2)

2021 AGM CASW Notice of meeting 2021

2021 AGM CASW Members Proxy Vote

Minutes of 2020 AGM 10.11.20

 

Show of faith as Trust keeps service running in Stratford

Stratford Town Trust has shown its commitment to helping local people by extending its core funding of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire – despite having faced funding pressures of its own during the pandemic. 

It has made a grant of £63,000 for the current year, continuing three years’ previous core funding that has enabled the local charity to maintain its visible presence in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

“Without this grant we would struggle to meet the advice needs of people in the town, which we continue to do over the telephone whilst we make plans for seeing vulnerable clients face to face.” says Julie Robinson, the new CEO at Citizens Advice South warwickshire (CASW).

The trust has also helped fund the training of volunteers. It costs more than £3,000 to train a new volunteer from scratch, and approximately £1,800 a year to beyond that. The trust has also enabled CASW to train some advisers as champions in areas such as debt and employment.  

Julie has been humbled by the trust’s resolve in continuing its support when, like many charities, it has experienced a loss of income during the Covid-19 crisis. “Despite that, they recognise the importance of our work at such a time” says Julie. 

The Trust exists to enhance the quality of life in Stratford-upon-Avon – and funding support for people with problems is one of the most effective ways to do that. Much of its income comes from properties granted to the town’s Guild and College Estates from the 13th century onwards. 

Strict charity rules mean its funding can only be used to support Stratford residents. That includes meeting roughly a third of the annual costs of the Citizens Advice South Warwickshire’s office in Meer Street where the charity plans to stay for years to come.

“We have had a presence in Stratford for 50 years” says Julie. “It means people know where to come. People know who we are and what we can help with – which is every person, with every issue. The Pandemic has made seeing clients face to face impossible, but we are working to find a way to support those who need to see one of our amazing volunteer advisors in a safe way as we head into the autumn months. Meanwhile our telephone service means that we continue to support many clients who would otherwise struggle to move issues forward.

James McHugh, Grants Manager for Stratford Town Trust, says “we are extremely proud to support CASW and the vital, much-needed work it does for our community. Even before the pandemic, Citizens Advice South Warwickshire played a vital part in improving the health and wellbeing of residents, working with them to get the help and support they need. 

The impact of the pandemic has seen the work of CASW – it’s fantastic staff and amazing volunteers – be needed more than ever. We see CASW as valued partners, alongside the Trust, with a joint aim of creating a thriving, vibrant Stratford”

Bright future for the partnership of Stratford’s Foodbank and local Citizens Advice

Local charities Citizens Advice South Warwickshire and Stratford-upon-Avon Foodbank have joined forces to help people access the help they need.

This project was developed between the two partner charities in response to the current pandemic, each bringing unique and specialist support to the people they help.  Following a positive start before Christmas the project saw 65 people in its first 6 weeks.

left, Marion Homer, Manager at Stratford-upon-Avon Foodbank and right, Julie Newton Caseworker at Citizens Advice South Warwickshire.

Julie Newton is the dedicated caseworker for this project on behalf of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire and has been working alongside Stratford-upon-Avon Foodbank since October 2020.

“I was excited to be involved from the start of this project and offer help and advice, whether it’s a benefit issue, employment or any other crisis.  It has been inspiring to contact people and make a difference to their lives because otherwise they would not have known where to turn to for help So far, the difficulties people have faced include high energy bills, hospital travel costs and homelessness.”

Anyone needing support from Stratford-upon-Avon Foodbank is able to access support from Julie at Citizens Advice South Warwickshire and all foodbank staff and volunteers are able to make a referral directly to the project for Julie’s support.

Among a handful of funders backing the project are Asda and the Misses Barrie Charitable Trust. The project is currently running for 12 months until October 2021, during which time it aims to help around 200 people build a more financially sustainable future for themselves and their families.

Marion Homer, Manager at Stratford-upon-Avon Foodbank said: “It is sad that so many people need our help at the Foodbank so our aim is to work out their needs. Together with Citizens Advice South Warwickshire providing longer term advice and solutions, we believe we are edging closer to solving the problems that cause people to be without food.”