The number of people helped by us would have more than filled the Royal Albert Hall

More than 6,000 people were helped and 32,000 issues were dealt with during the 2018/2019.

Yvonne Hunter, Chair of Trustees for Citizens Advice South Warwickshire said

“Most of the people who come to us have multiple problems and we have specialist advisers who can help. Nearly half of our clients have a disability and it’s evident to us that many mental health problems in the community are not being addressed.” 

She thanked local authorities who provided about 50% of the local charity’s funding. 

“I know this funding makes sense to them. We managed to get £3million additional income for our clients – probably more,  as we don’t always hear about the outcome of our help. This is money that on the whole goes straight back into the local community. So we are a good investment. “

Mayor of Stratford Kate Rolfe, a former trustee of the local Citizens Advice said

“When I first joined Citizens Advice in Stratford I thought it was a government-supported body, so I’m aware of the need for funding.  I am very pleased that you are one of my chosen charities for my year as Mayor”.

Jeremy Vanes, Chief Executive, said that benefits and debt topped the list of most common problems, but South Warwickshire faced particular difficulties.

“Most Citizens Advice services around the country have one or two outreach locations, but in South Warwickshire we regularly take our services to 13 different locations.  We also have 12 other staff who can provide home visits for people who meet the remits of our special projects. Transport and communications in this area sometimes makes it difficult for people to come to us”.

He said that Citizens Advice were helping a higher number of EU nationals who made up 10% of clients – an increase on last year.  

The Impact Report with full details of the work of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire can be found on their website

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Town Trust grant for “life-saving” Citizens Advice project

Local charity Citizens Advice South Warwickshire said a huge thank you to Stratford Town Trust who have confirmed ongoing support that will allow them to continue their Reach Out and Help (ROAH) project. 

The project is described as “life-saving and life-changing ” by one of its clients.  Beckey Barton, a young mother with fibromyalgia, was initially helped to get a blue badge because of her disability.  Since then, the ROAH team have helped Becky to claim the benefits she needs as well as get a grant to help with costs for an adapted bathroom.

Beckey is now able to run Stratford Fibro Friends support group at Lomas Cafe in Stratford Hospital. “I’ve had amazing support from the ROAH advisors.  It’s very daunting when you are not well and have no idea of what help is available. “

When Beckey started Stratford Fibro Friends the ROAH team offered support to the new members.  “I have seen people taken from the pits of despair and despondency back into being hopeful about their futures, thanks to ROAH help.  I can’t thank them enough.”

The Town Trust funds will help continue to deliver home visits to those in crisis who can’t get to Citizens Advice South Warwickshire’s main offices or outreach sessions. The project targets people who are vulnerable, have disabilities or face serious hardship.

Sara Aspley, Chief Executive of Stratford Town Trust said: “We have seen the value of this service which helps many who literally have no one else to turn to for even basic support.  The most vulnerable and needy people in the town are helped in so many ways.”  

Jeremy Vanes, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire said: “When we visit people at home our specialist advisor can reveal and work to solve a lot of problems.  Working across our varied services and with partners and statutory services, we make sure they get the right level of support, help them with hardship grants and be a sympathetic ear.”

This grant will run alongside money from the National Lottery for our already running South Warwickshire wide ROAH  project. These new funds will ensure there is continued service for the whole of Stratford District. 

If you wish to refer to this project, or learn more about it, please contact roah@casouthwarwickshire.org.uk to request a referral form.

To contact Stratford Fibro Friends call 07587 143374.

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire (CASW) is a local charity working to serve people in need across South Warwickshire. We support nearly 8,000 annually making a huge difference to their lives through the dedication of our 26FTE staff and our 130 volunteers. 

In 2019, our brand partners, National Citizens Advice celebrates its 80th anniversary of offering a free, confidential and impartial service for anyone with any issue. 

Celebrating 80th years of Citizens Advice

80 years ago in September 1939, this country went to war. This was to have a huge impact on millions of people.  It led to the start of Citizens Advice Bureaux to help in large cities and towns where war would be disrupting life. 
Citizens Advice opened in 200 locations the day after war was declared.  Dedicated advisers helped the public with problems as diverse as lost ration books, homelessness and evacuation. They even helped locate missing relatives and prisoners of war. 
 
Read more about the early beginnings  of Citizens Advice and why we are still needed today. 

 

 

April and May bank holiday closures for CASW

Due to Bank Holidays throughout April and May, our Leamington and Stratford offices and projects will not be accessible on the following days:

Friday 19th April

Monday 22nd April

Monday 6th May

Monday 27th May

We will operate as usual on the next working day in line with current working patterns (our Leamington office is closed each Tuesday).

 

 

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire launches new service for people applying for Universal Credit

Local charity, Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, has launched a new service called “Help to Claim” for those who need help to apply for Universal Credit across South Warwickshire.

People will now be able to get support as they submit their Universal Credit application until they get their first full payment.  The service will support anyone who has difficulty claiming online on the GOV UK website. This could be because a mental or physical disability, learning difficulty, lack of understanding of IT or any other exceptional circumstances.

Help will be tailored to the individual and available over the phone 0800 144 8 444 and face to face through the local Jobcentre.  This may include assistance with the online application form or help with providing evidence like childcare costs and bank details.  Budgeting advice will also be offered to help people manage a monthly payment.

Jeremy Vanes, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire said

“This week we’re launching a new service specifically for those who need help applying for Universal Credit.

“We offer free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to people in the community every day and have developed an expertise in dealing with Universal Credit. We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed. We are here to help”

A recent survey by the charity found more than a third of people Citizens Advice has helped struggled to provide the evidence needed to complete their Universal Credit claim.

The charity has already helped more than 600 people across South Warwickshire with problems relating to Universal Credit. Nationally, Citizens Advice has helped over 230,000 people with Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit that combines 6 benefits into 1, including Jobseekers Allowance and Working Tax Credits. It is now fully rolled out across the UK. When fully implemented, around 7 million people in England and Wales will be receiving Universal Credit.

People can access the service by phoning  0800 144 8 444 or visiting the website www.citizensadvice.org.uk

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Help for Alcester people in need of advice

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire will be restarting advice sessions in Alcester- offering their expert and confidential help to those in need.

An outreach advisor will be available to meet people on the first and third Thursdays of the month at Globe House. Appointments will need to be booked through the Citizens Advice office in Stratford upon Avon.

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, a local charity, has been able to continue the sessions for a year from March 2019 thanks to funds from a host of community groups in the Alcester area. Alcester Town Council, Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council are all behind the relaunch, working together to bring the advice service back to the people of Alcester.

Nina Knapman, Trustee at CASW said:
“Our outreach services are so important because we can’t always assume that people can travel to our offices in Stratford or find all the solutions they need with our website information. Face-to-face contact can help people who are getting overwhelmed by problems of debt, benefits claims or housing issues”.
“We are grateful for the funding from so many groups so that our outreach work can get to those in need “.

Mark Cargill, County Councillor for Alcester said:
“The cessation of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire outreach for the residents of Alcester was a major concern to me. I am delighted that, with local community support and in partnership with the Town, District and County Councils, an arrangement has been made allowing us to restart this vital service. I hope that CASW outreach will now remain in Alcester, continuing their support for our residents”

If you would like an appointment, please call 01789 200136 to arrange a time and date.

Special need for new volunteers in Leamington and Stratford

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire (CASW) offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. We give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem.

However, a special need has arisen to help people with the fastest growing advice issue – Universal Credit (UC). As a local charity we need more volunteers so that we can improve the support available to people making a claim. Citizens Advice South Warwickshire is set to deliver a new service called “Universal Support: Help to Claim” which offers end-to-end support to help people make a new Universal Credit claim and be ready for when their first payment arrives.

We are looking to recruit several new volunteers with good IT skills to support others to make and complete their new Universal Credit claim, as well as a commitment to the aims and principles of the Citizens Advice Service.

You’ll have the ability to interview people either in person or on the phone. Maybe you have had some experience of using the benefits system? Perhaps you are looking for a volunteering role before getting back to the workplace? Or maybe you have more time to give something back to your local community?

Full training will be given for these posts and, after this, we would hope you could commit to one full day each week. The posts will be based at Leamington Spa and Stratford upon Avon.

This is a great opportunity to make a real contribution by helping others in our community to resolve their problems – which is good for them and the wider community. CASW is a local charity helping local people. More than 100 people already give their time to helping run the service – we hope we can find more for this urgent need.

Please contact us to find out more or get an application form.

For Stratford upon Avon Site Email maria.veitch@casouthwarwickshire.org.uk or call 01789 200180

For Leamington Spa site Email natalie.lavin@casouthwarwickshire.org.uk or call 01926 457928

Role description

Support people in making an initial online claim for Universal Credit.
Record details of claims on our case recording system.
Refer people for additional support where appropriate.
Prevent future problems by identifying failing policies and poor services.

You will need to be

Computer literate, including able to enter data onto an electronic form.
Able to use a telephone.
Good at listening and being patient.
Able to read and write English.
Flexible and able to work well with other people.
Open-minded and non-judgemental.
Interested in learning something new and passionate about making a difference.
Willing to carry out role off-site on a rota basis.

Desirable (but not essential)

Basic understanding of Universal Credit and the online claim process.
Knowledge of google drive and applications.
Understanding of the welfare benefit system.
Understanding of the wider issues faced by the local community.